BOND FELT SOMETHING HARD
PRESS INTO HIS SPINE...
At the same time a thick voice said softly, urgently,
just behind his right ear:
"This is a gun, Monsieur". It is silent. It can blow
the base of your spine off without a sound. With-
draw your bet before I count to ten."
Bond turned his head. There he was, leaning for-
ward, smiling broadly under his black moustache as
if he were wishing Bond luck.
Bond looked across. Le Chiffre was watching him.
He was waiting, waiting for Bond's hand to gesture
to the croupier, or else for Bond suddenly to slump
backward in his chair...
James Bond books published by Berkley
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LIVE AND LET DIE
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
...by John Gardner
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Macmillan edition published 1953
Jove edition / July 1980
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1 THE SECRET AGENT 1
2 DOSSIER FOR M. 8
3 NUMBER 007 18
4 'L'ENNEMI ECOUTE' 22
5 THE GIRL FROM HEADQUARTERS 29
6 TWO MEN IN STRAW HATS 36
7 ROUGE ETNOIR 41
8 PINK LIGHTS AND CHAMPAGNE 50
9 THE GAME IS BACCARAT 56
10 THE HIGH TABLE 64
11 MOMENT OF TRUTH 71
12 THE DEADLY TUBE 78
13 'A WHISPER OF LOVE, 85
A WHISPER OF HATE'
14 'LA VIE EN ROSE?* 93
15 BLACK HARE AND GREY HOUND 98
16 THE CRAWLING OFTHE SKIN 103
17 'MY DEAR BOY' 110
1 8 A CRAGLIKE FACE 120
19 THE WHITE TENT 124
20 THE NATURE OF EVIL 131
21 VESPER 139
22 THE HASTENING SALOON 147
23 TIDE OF PASSION 154
24 'FRUIT DEFENDU' ; 159
25 'BLACK-PATCH' 164
26 'SLEEP WELL, MY DARLING' 170
27 THE BLEEDING HEART 174
The Sedret Agent
The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are
nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-
erosion produced by high gambling— a compost of
greed and fear and nervous tension — becomes unbear-
able, and the senses awake and revolt from it.
James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired. He
always knew when his body or his mind had had
enough, and he always acted on the knowledge. This
helped him to avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness
that breeds mistakes.
He shifted himself unobtrusively away from the
roulette he had been playing and went to stand for a
moment at the brass rail which surrounded breast-high
the top table in the salle privee.
Le Chiffre was : still playing and still, apparently,
winning. There was an untidy pile of flecked hundred-
mille plaques in front of him. In the shadow of his thick
left arm there nestled a discreet stack of the big yellow
ones worth half a million francs each.
Bond -watched the curious, impressive profile for a
time, and then he shrugged his shoulders to lighten his
thoughts and moved away.
The barrier surrounding the caisse comes as high as
your chin, and the caissier, who is generally nothing
more than a minor bank clerk, sits on a stool and dips
into his piles of notes and plaques. These are ranged on
shelves. They are on a level, behind the protecting
barrier* with your groin. The caissier has a cosh and a
gun to protect him, and to heave over the barrier and
steal some notes and then vault back and get out of the
Casino through the passages and doors would be im-
possible. And the caissiers generally work in pairs.
Bond reflected on the problem as he collected the
sheaf of hundred-thousand and then the sheaves of ten-
thousand-franc notes. With another part of his mind, he
had a vision of tomorrow's regular morning meeting of
the Casino committee.
'Monsieur Le Chiffre made two million. He played
his usual game. Miss Fairchild made a million an hour
and then left. She executed\hree bancos of Monsieur Le
Chiffre within an hour and then left. She played with
coolness. Monsieur le Vicomte de Villorin made one
million two at roulette. He was playing the maximum on
the first and last dozens. He was lucky. Then the
Englishman, Mister Bond, increased his winnings to
exactly three million over the two days. He was playing
a progressive system on red at table five. Duclos, the
chef de partie, has the details. It seems that he is per-
severing and pays in maximums. He has luck. His
nerves seem good. On the soiree, the chemin-de-fer won
x, the baccarat won.y and the roulette won z. The boule,
which was again badly frequented, still makes its ex-
'Merci, Monsieur Xavier. '
'Merci, Monsieur le President.'
Or something like that, thought Bond as he pushed
THE SECRET AGENT
his way through the swing doors of the salle privee and
nodded to the bored man in evening clothes whose job it
is to bar your entry and your exit and the electric foot-
switch which can lock the door at any hint of trouble.
And the Casino committee 'would balance its books
and break up to its homes or cafSs for lunch.
As for robbing the caisse, in which Bond himself was
not personally concerned, but only interested, he- re-
flected that it would take ten good men, that they would
certainly have to kill one or two employees, and that
anyway you probably couldn't find ten non-squeal
killers in France, or in any other country for the matter
As he gave a thousand francs to the 'vestiaire' and
walked down the steps of the Casino, Bond made up his
mind that Le Chiffre would in no circumstances try to
rob the caisse; and he put the contingency out of his
mind. Instead he explored his present physical sen-
sations. He felt the dry, uncomfortable gravel under his
evening shoes, the bad ( harsh taste in his mouth, and the
slight sweat under his arms. He could feel his eyes filling
their sockets. The front of his face, his nose and an-
trum, were congested. He breathed the sweet night air
deeply and focused his senses and his wits. He wanted to
know if anyone had searched his room since he had left
it before dinner.
. He walked across the broad boulevard and through
the gardens to the Hotel Splendide. He smiled at the
concierge who gave him his key— No. 45 on the first
floor — and took the cable.
It was from Jamaica and read:
KINGSTON J A XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXX
BOND SPLENDIDE ROYALE-LES-EAUX SEINE IN-
FERIEURE HAVANA- CIGAR PRODUCTION ALL
CUBAN FACTORIES 1915 TEN MILLION REPEAT TEN
4 CASINO ROYALE
MILLION STOP HOPE THIS FIGURE YOU REQUIRE
This meant that ten million francs was on the way to
him. It was the reply to a request Bond had sent that af-
ternoon through Paris to his headquarters in London
asking for more funds. Paris had spoken to London
where Clements, the head of Bond's department, had
spoken to M. who had smiled wryly and told 'The
Broker' to fix it with the Treasury.
Bond had once worked in Jamaica, and his cover on
the Royale assignment was that of a very rich client of
Messrs. Caffery, the principal import and export firm
of Jamaica. So he was being controlled through
Jamaica, through a taciturn man who was head of the
picture desk on the Daily Gleaner, the famous
newspaper of the Caribbean.
This man on the Gleaner, whose name was.Fawcett,
had been bookkeeper for one of the leading turtle-
fisheries on the Cayman Islands. One of the men from
the Caymans who had volunteered on the outbreak of
war, he had ended up as a Paymaster's clerk in a small
naval intelligence organization in Malta. At the end of
the war, when, with a heavy heart, he was about to
return to the Caymans, he was spotted by the section of
the Secret Service concerned with the Caribbean. He
was strenuously trained in photography and in some
other arts and, with the quiet connivance of an in-
fluential man in Jamaica, found his way to the picture
desk of the Gleaner.
In the intervals between sifting photographs sub-
mitted by the great agencies— Keystone, Wide World,
Universal, I.N.P., and Reuter-Photo — he would get
peremptory instructions by telephone from a man he
had never met to carry out certain simple operations
requiring nothing but absolute discretion, speed, and
THE SECRET AGENT
accuracy. For these occasional services he received
twenty pounds a month paid into his account with the
Royal Bank of Canada by a fictitious relative in
Fawcett's present assignment was to relay im-
mediately to Bond, full rates, the text of messages which
he received at home by telephone from his anonymous
contact. He had been told by this contact that nothing
he would be asked to send would arouse the suspicion of
the Jamaican post office. So he was not surprised to
find himself suddenly appointed string correspondent
for the 'Maritime Press and Photo Agency,' with press-
collect facilities to France and England, on a further
monthly retainer of ten pounds.
He felt secure and, encouraged, had visions of a
B.E.M. and made the first payment on a Morris Minor.
He also bought a green eyeshade which he had long
coveted, and which helped him to impose his personality
on the picture desk. ,
Some of this background to his cable passed through
Bond's mind. He was used to oblique control and rather
liked it. He felt it featherbedded him a little, allowed
him to give or take an hour or. two in his com-
munications with M. He knew that this was probably a
fallacy, that probably there was another member of the
Service at Royale-les-Eaux who was reporting in-
dependently, but it did give the illusion that he wasn't
only 150 miles across the Channel from that deadly of-
fice building near Regent's Park, being watched and
judged by those few cold brains that made the whole
show work. Just as Fawcett, the Cayman Islander in
Kingston, knew that if he bought that Morris Minor
outright instead of signing the hire-purchase agreement,
someone in London would probably know and want to
know where the money had come from.
Bond read the cable twice. He tore a telegraph form
off the; pad on the desk (why give them carbon copies?)
and wrote his reply in capital letters:
THANKS INFORMATION SHOULD SUFFICE
He handed this to the concierge and put the cable
signed 'Dasilva' in his pocket. The employers (if any) of
the concierge could bribe a copy out of the local post of-
fice, if the concierge hadn't already steamed the en-
velope open or read the cable upside down in Bond's
He took his key and said good night and turned to the
stairs, shaking his head at the liftman. Bond knew what
an obliging danger-signal a lift could be. He didn't ex-
pect anyone to be moving on the first floor, but he
preferred to be prudent.
Walking quietly up on the balls of his feet, he re-
gretted the hubris of his reply to M. via Jamaica. As a
gambler he knew it was a mistake to rely on too small a
capital. Anyway, M. probably wouldn't let him have
any more. He shrugged his shoulders and turned off the
stairs into the corridor and walked softly to the door of
Bond knew exactly where the switch was, and it was
with one flow of motion that he stood on the threshold
with the door full open, the light on and a gun in his
hand. The safe, empty room sneered at him. He ignored
the half-open door of the bathroom and, after locking
himself in, he turned up the bed-light and the mirror-
light and threw his gun on the settee beside the window.
Then he bent down and inspected one of his own black
hairs which still lay undisturbed where he had left it
before dinner, wedged into the drawer of the writing-
Next he examined a faint trace of talcum powder on
the inner rim of the porcelain handle of the clothes cup-
board. It appeared immaculate. He went into the
bathroom, lifted the cover of the lavatory cistern and
THE SECRET AGENT
verified the level of the water against a small scratch on
the copper ball-cock.
Doing alL this, inspecting these minute burglar-
alarms, did not make him feel foolish or self-conscious.
He was a secret agent, and still alive thanks to his exact
attention to the detail of his profession. Routine
precautions were to him no more unreasonable than
they would be to a deep-sea diver or a test pilot, or to
any man earning danger-money.
Satisfied that his room had not been searched while
he was at the Casino, Bond undressed and took a cold
shower. Then he lit his seventieth cigarette of the day
and sat down at the writing-table with the thick wad of
his stake money and winnings beside him and entered
some figures in a small notebook. Over the two days'
play, he was up exactly three million francs. In London
he had been issued with ten million, and he had asked
London for a further ten. With this on its way to the
local branch of the Credit Lyonnais, his working capital
amounted to twenty-three million francs, or some
twenty-three thousand pounds.
For a few moments Bond sat motionless, gazing out
of the "window across the dark sea; then he shoved the
bundle of banknotes under the pillow of the ornate
single bed, cleaned his teeth, turned out the lights and
climbed with relief between the harsh French sheets. For
ten minutes he lay on his left side reflecting on the
events of the day. Then he turned over and focused his
mind towards the tunnel of sleep.
His last action was to slip his right hand under the
pillow until it rested under the butt of the .38 Colt
Police Positive with the sawn barrel. Then he slept, and
. with the warmth and humour of his eyes extinguished
his features relapsed into a taciturn mask, ironical,
brutal, and cold.
Dossier for M.
Two weeks before, this memorandum had gone
from Station S. of the Secret Service to M., who was
then and is today head of this adjunct to the British
From: Head of S.
Subject: A project for the destruction of Monsieur
Le Chiffre (alias 'The Number,' 'Herr Hum-
mer,' 'Herr Ziffer,' etc.), one of the Opposi-
tion's chief agents in France and undercover
Paymaster of the 'Syndicat des Ouvriers
d' Alsace,' the communist-controlled trade
union in the heavy and transport industries of
Alsace and, as we know, an important fifth col-
umn in the event of war with Redland.
Documentation: Head of Archives' biography of
Le Chiffre is attached at Appendix A. Also, Ap-
pendix B, a note onSMERSH.
DOSSIER FOR M.
• • •
We have been feeling for some time that Le
Chiffre is getting into deep water. In nearly all
respects he is an admirable agent of the U.S.S.R.j
but his gross physical habits and predilections are
an Achilles heel of which we have been able to
take advantage from time to time, and one of his
mistresses is a Eurasian (No. 1860) controlled by
Station F., who has recently been able to obtain
some insight into his private affairs.
Briefly, it seems that Le Chiffre is on the brink
of a financial crisis. Certain straws in the wind
were noticed by 1860 — some discreet sales of
jewellery, the disposal of a villa at Antibes, and a
general tendency to check the loose spending
which had always been a feature of his way of life.
Further inquiries were made with the help of our
friends of the Deuxieme Bureau (with whom we
have been working jointly on this case) and a
curious story has come to light.
In January 1946 Le Chiffre bought control of a
chain of brothels, known as the 'Cordon Jaune,'
operating in Normandy and Brittany. He was
foolish enough to employ for this purpose some
fifty million francs of the moneys entrusted to him
by Leningrad Section III for the financing of
S.O.D.A., the trade union mentioned above.
Normally the Cordon Jaune would have proved
a most excellent investment; and it is possible that
Le Chiffre was motivated more by a desire to in-
crease his union funds than by the hope of lining
his own pocket by speculating with his employers'
money. However that may be, it is clear that he
could have found many investments more savoury
than prostitution, if he had not been tempted by
the by-product of unlimited women for his per-
Fate rebuked him with terrifying swiftness.
Barely three months later, on the 13th April,
there was passed in France Law No. 46685 entitled
Loi Tendant a la Fermeture des Maisons de
Tolerance et au Renforcement de la Lutte cohtre le
(When M. came to this sentence he grunted and
pressed a switch on the intercom.
'Head of S?'
'What the hell does this word mean? ' He spelt it out.
'Pimping, sir. 5
'This is not the Berlitz School of Languages, Head of
S. If you want to show off your knowledge of foreign
jawbreakers, be good enough to provide a crib. Better
still, write in English.'
M. released the switch and turned back to the
This law (he read), known popularly as 'La Loi
Marthe Richard,' closing all houses of ill- fame
and forbidding the sale of pornographic books
and films, knocked the bottom out of his in-
vestment almost overnight, and suddenly Le
Chiffre was faced with a serious deficit in his
union funds. In desperation he turned his open
houses into 'maisons de passe' where clandestine
rendezvous could be arranged on the border-line
of the law, and he continued to operate one or two
'cinemas bleus' underground; but these shifts in
no way served to cover his overheads, and all at-
tempts to sell his investment, even at a heavy loss,
failed dismally. Meanwhile the Police des Moeurs
were on his trail, and in a short while twenty or
more of his establishments were closed down.
The police were, of course, only interested in
this man as a big-time brothel-keeper, and it was
not until we expressed an interest in his finances
that the Deuxieme Bureau unearthed the parallel
dossier which was running with their colleagues of
the police department.
The significance of the situation became ap-
parent to us and to our French friends, and, in the
past few months, a veritable rat-hunt has been
operated by the police after the establishments of
the Cordon Jaune, with the result that today
nothing remains of Le Chiffre's original in-
vestment, and any routine inquiry would reveal a
deficit of around fifty million francs in the trade-
union funds of which he is the treasurer and
It does not seem that the suspicions of
Leningrad have been aroused yet; but, un-
fortunately for Le Chiffre, it is possible that at
any rateSMERSH is on the scent. Last week a high-
grade source of Station P. reported that a senior
official of the efficient organ of Soviet vengeance
had left Warsaw for Strasbourg via the Eastern
sector of Berlin. There is no confirmation of this
report from the Deuxieme Bureau, nor from the
authorities in Strasbourg (who are reliable and
thorough) and there is also no news from Le
Chiffre's headquarters there, which we have well
covered by a double agent (in addition to 1860).
If Le Chiffre knew that SMERSH was on his tail
or that they had the smallest suspicion of him, he
would have no alternative to committing suicide
or attempting to escape; but his present plans
suggest that, while he is certainly desperate, he
does not yet realize that his life may be at stake. It
is these rather spectacular plans of his that have
suggested to us a counter-operation which, though
risky and unconventional, we submit at the end of
this memorandum with confidence.
In brief, Le Chiffre plans, we believe, to follow
the example of most other desperate till-robbers
and make good the deficit in his accounts by gam-
bling. The 'Bourse' is too slow. So are the various
illicit traffics in drugs, or rare medicines, such as
aureo- and streptomycin and cortisone. No race
tracks could carry the sort of stakes he will have to
play; and, if he won, he would more likely be
killed than paid off .
In any case, we know that he has withdrawn the
final twenty-five million francs from the treasury
of his union, and that he has taken a small villa in
the neighbourhood of Royale-les-Eaux, just north
of Dieppe, for a week from a fortnight tomorrow.
Now, it is expected that the Casino at Royale
will see the highest gambling in Europe this sum-
mer. In an effort to wrest the big money from
Deauville and Le Touquet, the Soci6te des Bains
de Mers de Royale have leased the baccarat and
the two top chemin-de-fer tables to the Mahomet
Ali Syndicate, a group of emigre' Egyptian bankers
and businessmen with, it is said, a call on certain
royal funds, who have for years been trying to cut
in on the profits of Zographos and his Greek
associates resulting from their monopoly of the
highest French baccarat banks.
With the help of discreet publicity, a con-
siderable number of the biggest operators in
America and Europe have been encouraged to
book at Royale this summer and it seems possible
that this old-fashioned watering-place will regain
some of its Victorian renown.
Be that as it may, it is here that Le Chiffre will,
we are confident, endeavour on or after 15 June to
make a profit at baccarat of fifty million francs on
a working capital of twenty- five million. (And, in-
cidentally, save his life.)
DOSSIER FOR M.
It would be greatly in the interests of this coun-
try and of the other nations of the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization that this powerful Soviet
agent should be ridiculed and destroyed, that his
communist trade union should be bankrupted and
brought into disrepute, and that this potential
fifth column, with a strength of 50,000, capable in
time of war of controlling a wide sector of
France's northern frontier, should lose faith and
cohesion. All this would result if Le Chiffre could
be defeated at the tables. (N.B. Assassination is
pointless. Leningrad would quickly cover up his
defalcations and make him into a martyr.)
We therefore recommend that the finest gam-
bler available to the Service should be given the
necessary funds and endeavour to outgamble this
The risks are obvious, and the possible loss to
the Secret funds is high; but other operations on
which large sums have been hazarded have had
fewer chances of success, often for a smaller ob-
If the decision is unfavourable, the only alter-
native would be to place our information and our
recommendations in the hands of the Deuxieme
Bureau or of our American colleagues of the
Combined Intelligence Agency in Washington.
Both of these organizations would doubtless be
delighted to take over the scheme.
Name: Le Chiffre.
Aliases: Variations on the words 'cipher' or
'number' in different languages; e.g., 'Herr
First encountered as a displaced person, in-
mate of Dachau D.P. camp in the U.S. Zone of
Germany, June, 1945. Apparently suffering
from amnesia and paralysis of vocal cords (?
both feigned). Dumbness succumbed to ther-
apy, but subject continued to claim total loss of
memory except associations with Alsace Lor-
raine and Strasbourg whither he was transferred
in September, 1945, on Stateless Passport No.
304596. Adopted the name 'Le Chiffre' ('since I
am only a number on a passport'). No Christian
Age: About 45.
Description: Height 5 ft. 8 in. Weight 18 stone.
Complexion very pale. Clean-shaven. Hair red-
brown, 'en brosse.' Eyes very dark brown with
whites showing all round iris. Small, rather
feminine mouth. False teeth of expensive
quality. Ears small, with large lobes, indicating
some Jewish blood. Hands small, well-tended,
hirsute. Feet small. Racially, subject is probably
a mixture of Mediterranean with Prussian or
Polish strains. Dresses well and meticulously,
generally in dark double-breasted suits. Smokes
incessantly Caporals, using a denicotinizing
holder. At frequent intervals inhales from ben-
zedrine inhaler. Voice soft and even. Bilingual
in French and English. Good German. Traces
of Marseillais accent. Smiles infrequently. Does
Habits: Mostly expensive, but discreet. Large sex-
ual appetites. Flagellant. Expert driver of fast
cars. Adept with small arms and other forms of
DOSSIER FORM. 15
personal combat, including knives. Carries
three Eversharp razor blades, in hatband, heel
of left shoe, and cigarette case. Knowledge of
accountancy and mathematics. Fine gambler.
Always accompanied by two armed guards,
well-dressed, one French, one German (details
Comment: A formidable and dangerous agent of
the U.S.S.R., controlled by Leningrad Section
III through Paris.
Sources: Own archives and scanty material made
available by DeuxiSme Bureau and C.I.A.
Smersh is a conjunction of two Russian
words: 'Smyert Shpionam,' meaning roughly:
'Death to Spies.'
Ranks above MW.D. (formerly N.K.V.D.)
and is believed to come under the personal
direction of Beria.
Headquarters: Leningrad (substation at
Its task is the elimination of all forms of
treachery and back-sliding within the various
branches of the Soviet Secret Service and Secret
Police at home and abroad. It is the most
powerful and feared organization in the
U.S.S.R. and is popularly believed never to
have failed in a mission of vengeance.
It is thought that SMERSH was responsible for
the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico (22
August 1940) and may indeed have made its
name with this successful murder after attempts
by other Russian individuals and organizations
SMERSH was next heard of when Hitler at-
tacked Russia. It was then rapidly expanded to
cope with treachery and double agents during
the retreat of the Soviet forces in 1941. At that
time it worked as an execution squad for the
N.K.V.D., and its present selective mission was
not so clearly defined.
The organization itself was thoroughly
purged after the war and is now believed to con-
sist of only a few hundred operatives of very
high quality divided into five sections:
Department I: In , charge of counter-
intelligence among Soviet organizations
at home and abroad.
Department II: Operations, including execu-
Department III: Administration and Finance.
Department IV: Investigations and legal
Department V: Prosecutions: the section
which passes final judgment on all victims.
Only one SMERSH operative has come into our
hands since the war: Goytchev, alias Garrad-
Jones. He shot Petchora, medical officer at the
Yugoslav Embassy, in Hyde Park, 7 August
1948. During interrogation he committed
suicide by swallowing a coat-button of com-
pressed potassium cyanide. He revealed nothing
beyond his membership of SMERSH, of which he
was arrogantly boastful-.
We believe that the following British double
agents were victims of SMERSH: Donovan,
Harthrop-Vane, Elizabeth Dumont, Ventnor,
DOSSIER FOR M.
Mace, Savarin. (For details see Morgue: Section
Conclusion: Every effort should be made to im-
prove our knowledge of this very powerful
organization and destroy its operatives.
Head of S. (the section of the Secret Service con-
cerned with the Soviet Union) was so keen on his plan
for the destruction of Le Chiffre, and it was basically
his own plan, that he took the memorandum himself
and went up to the top floor of the gloomy building
overlooking Regent's Park and through the green baize
door and along the corridor to the end room.
He walked belligerently up to M.'s chief of staff, a
young sapper who had earned his spurs as one of the
secretariat to the Chiefs of Staff committee after having
been wounded during a sabotage operation in 1944, and
had kept his sense of humour in spite of . both ex-
'Now look here, Bill. I want to sell something to the
Chief. Is this a good moment?'
'What do you think, Penny?' The Chief of Staff
turned to M.'s private secretary, who shared the room
Miss Moneypenny would have been desirable but for
NUMBER 007 19
her eyes, which were cool and direct and quizzical.
'Should be all right. He won a bit of a victory at the
F.O. this morning and he's not. got anyone for the next
half an hour.' She smiled encouragingly at Head of S.,
whom she liked for himself and for the importance of
'Well, here's the dope, Bill.' He handed over the
black folder with the red star which stood for Top
Secret. 'And for God's sake look enthusiastic when you
give it him. And tell him I'll wait here and read a good
code-book while he's considering it. He may want some
more details, and anyway I want to see you two don't
pester him with anything else until he's finished. '
'All right, sir.' The Chief of Staff pressed a switch
and leant towards the intercom on his desk.
'Yes?' asked a quiet, flat voice.
'Head of S. has an urgent docket for you, sir. '
There was a pause.
'Bring it in,' said the voice;
The Chief of Staff released the switch and stood up.
'Thanks, Bill. I'll be next door,' said Head of S.
The Chief of Staff crossed his office and went
through the double doors leading into M.'s room. In a
moment he came out, and over the entrance a small blue
light burned the warning that M. was not to be dis-
Later, a triumphant Head of S. said to his Number
Two: 'We nearly cooked ourselves with that last
paragraph. He said it was subversion and blackmail. He
got pretty sharp about it. Anyway, he approves. Says
the idea's crazy but worth trying if the Treasury will
play, and he thinks they will. He's going to tell them it's
a better gamble than the money we're putting into de-
serting Russian colonels who turn double after a few
months' "asylum" here. And he's longing to get at Le
Chiffre, and anyway he's got the right man and wants to
try him out on the job.' \
'Who is it?' asked Number Two.
' One of the Double O's — I guess 007 . He's tough, and
M. thinks there may be trouble with those gunmen of Le
Chiffre's. He must be pretty good with the cards, or he
wouldn't have sat in the Casino in Monte Carlo for two
months before the war watching that Roumanian team
work their stuff with the invisible ink and the dark
glasses. He and the Deuxieme bowled them out in the
end, and 007 turned in a million francs he had won at
shemmy. Good money in those days. '
James Bond's interview with M'. had been short.
'What about it, Bond?' asked M. when Bond came
back into his room after reading Head of S.'s memoran-
dum and after gazing for ten minutes out of the waiting-
room window at the distant trees in the park.
Bond looked across the desk into the shrewd, clear
'It's very kind of you, sir, I'd like to do it. But I can't
promise -to win. The odds at baccarat are the best after
"trente et quarante" — evens except for the tiny
"cagnotte" — but I might get a bad run against me and
get cleaned out. Play's going to be pretty
high— opening' 11 go up to half a million, I should
Bond was stopped by the cold eyes. M. knew all this
already, knew the odds at baccarat as well as Bond.
That was his job — knowing the odds at everything, and
knowing men, his own and the opposition's. Bond
wished he had kept quiet about his misgivings.
'He can have a bad run too,' said M. 'You'll have
plenty of capital. Up to twenty-five million, the same as
him. We'll start you on ten and send you another ten
when you've had a look round. You can make the extra
five yourself.' He smiled. 'Go over a few days before
the big game starts and get your hand in. Have a talk to
Q. about rooms and trains, and any equipment you
want. The Paymaster will fix the funds. I'm going to ask
the Deuxieme to stand by. It's their territory, and as it is
we shall be lucky if they don't kick up rough . I'll try and
persuade them to send Mathis. You seemed to get on
well with him in Monte Carlo on that other Casino job.
And I'm going to tell Washington because of the
N.A.T.O. angle. C.I. A. have got one or two good men
at Fontainebleau with the joint intelligence chaps there.
Bond shook his head. 'I'd certainly like to have
'Well, we'll see. Try and bring it off. We're going to
look pretty foolish if you don't. And watch out. This
sounds an amusing job, but I don't think it's going to
be. Le Chiffre is a good man. Well, best of luck.'
'Thank you, sir,' said Bond, and went to the door.
'Just a minute.'
'I think I'll keep you covered, Bond. Two heads are
better than one and you'll need someone to run your
communications. I'll think it over. They'll get in touch
i with you at Royale. You needn't worry. It'll be someone
Bond would have preferred to work alone, but one
didn't argue with M. He left the room hoping that the
man they sent would be loyal to.him and neither stupid
nor, worse still, ambitious.
As, two weeks later, James Bond awoke in his
room at the Hotel Splehdide, some of this history
passed through his mind.
He had arrived at Royale-les-Eaux in time for lunch-
eon two days before. There had been no attempt to con-
tact him, and there had been no flicker of curiosity
when he had signed the register 'James Bond, Port
M. had expressed no interest in his cover.
'Once you start to make a set at Le Chiffre at the
tables you'll have had it,' he said. 'But wear a cover that
will stick with the general public. '
Bond knew Jamaica well, so he asked to be controlled
from there and to pass as a Jamaican phantocrat whose
father had made his pile in tobacco and sugar and who
chose to play it away on the stock markets and in
casinos. If inquiries were made, he would quote Charles
Dasilva of Caffery's, Kingston, as his attorney. Charles
would make the story stick.
Bond had spent the last two afternoons and most of
the nights at the Casino, playing complicated
progression systems on the even chances at roulette. He
made a high banco at chemin-de-fer whenever he heard
one offered. If he lost, he would 'suivi' once and not
chase it further if he lost the second time.
In this way he had made some three million francs
and had given his nerves and card-sense a thorough
workout. He had got the geography of the Casino clear
in his mind. Above all, he had been able to observe Le
Chiffre at the tables and to note ruefully that he was a
faultless and lucky gambler.
Bond liked to make a good breakfast. After a cold
shower, he- sat at the writing-table in front of the
window. He looked out at the beautiful day and con-
sumed half a pint of iced orange juice, three scrambled
eggs and bacon, and a double portion of coffee without
sugar. He lit his first cigarette, a Balkan and Turkish
mixture made for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street,
and watched the small waves lick the long seashore and
the fishing fleet from Dieppe string out towards the
June heat-haze followed by a paper-chase of herring-
He was lost in his thoughts when the telephone rang.
It was the concierge announcing that a Director of
Radio Stentor was waiting below with the wireless set he
v had ordered from Paris.
'Of course,' said Bond. 'Send him up.'
This was the cover fixed by the Deuxieme Bureau for
their liaison man with Bond. Bond watched the door,
hoping that it would be Mathis.
When Mathis came in, a respectable businessman
carrying a large square parcel by its leather handle,
Bond smiled broadly and would have greeted him with
warmth if Mathis had not frowned and held up his free
hand after carefully closing the door.
'I have just arrived from Paris, monsieur, and here is
the set you asked to have on approval — five valves,
superhet, I think you call it in England, and you should
be able to get most of the capitals of Europe from
Royale. There are no mountains for forty miles in any
'It sounds all right,' said Bond, lifting his eyebrows at
Mathis paid no attention. He placed the set, which he
had unwrapped, on the floor beside the unlit panel elec-
tric fire below the mantelpiece.
'It is just past eleven,' he said, 'and I see that the
Compagnons de la Chanson should now be on the
medium wave from Rome. They are touring Europe.
Let us see what the reception is like. It should be a fair
He winked. Bond noticed that he had turned the
volume on to full and that the red light indicating the
long waveband was illuminated, though the set was still
Mathis fiddled at the back of the set. Suddenly an ap-
palling roar of static filled the small room. Mathis gazed
at the set for a few seconds with benevolence and then
turned it off, and his voice was full of dismay.
'My dear monsieur — forgive me, please— badly
tuned.' And he again bent to the dials. After a few ad-
justments the close harmony of the French came over
the air, and Mathis walked up and clapped Bond very
hard on the back and wrung his hand until Bond's
Bond smiled back at him. 'Now what the hell?' he
'My dear friend,' Mathis was delighted, 'you are
blown, blown, blown. Up there,' he pointed at the
ceiling, 'at this moment, either Monsieur Muntz or his
alleged wife, allegedly bedridden with the grippe, is
deafened, absolutely deafened, and I hope in agony.'
He grinned with pleasure at Bond's frown of disbelief.
Mathis sat down on the bed and ripped open a packet
of Caporal with his thumbnail. Bond waited.
Mathis was satisfied with the sensation his words had
caused. He became serious.
'How it has happened, I don't know. They must have
been on to you for several days before you arrived. The
opposition is here in real strength. Above you is the
Muntz family. He is German. She is from somewhere in
Central Europe, perhaps a Czech. This is an old-
fashioned hotel. There are disused chimneys behind
these electric fires. Just here,' he pointed a few inches
above the panel fire, 'is suspended a very powerful radio
pick-up. The wires run up the chimney to behind the
Muntzes' electric fire where there is an amplifier. In
their room is a wire recorder and a pair of earphones on
which the Muntzes listen in turn. That is why Madame
Muntz has the grippe and takes all her meals in bed and
why Monsieur Muntz has to be constantly at her side in-
stead of enjoying the sunshine and the gambling of this
'Some of this we knew because in France we are very
clever. The rest we confirmed by unscrewing your elec-
tric fire a few hours before you got here. '
Suspiciously Bond walked over and examined the
screws which secured the panel to the wall. Their
grooves showed minute scratches.
'Now it is time for a little more play-acting,' said
Mathis. He walked over to the radio, which was still
transmitting close harmony to its audience of three, and
switched it off.
'Are you satisfied, monsieur?' he asked. 'You notice
how clearly they come over. Are they not a wonderful
team?' He made a winding motion with his right hand
and raised his eyebrows.
'They are so good;' said Bond, 'that I would like to
hear the rest of the programme.' He grinned at the
thought of the angry glances which the Muntzes must be
exchanging overhead. 'The machine itself seems splen-
did. Just what I was looking for to take back to
Mathis made a sarcastic grimace and switched back to
the Rome programme.
'You and your Jamaica,' he said, and sat down again
on the bed.
Bond frowned at him. 'Well, it's no good crying over
spilt milk,' he said. 'We didn't expect the cover to stick
for long, but it's worrying that they bowled it out so
soon.' He searched his mind in vain for a clue. Could
the Russians have broken one of our ciphers? If so, he
might just as well pack up and go home. He and his job
would have been stripped naked.
Mathis seemed to read his mind. 'It can't have been a
cipher,' he said. 'Anyway, we told London at once, and
they will have changed them. A pretty flap we caused, I
can tell you.' He smiled with the satisfaction of a
friendly rival. 'And now to business, before our good
Compagnons run out of breath.
'First of all' — he inhaled a thick lungful of
Caporal — 'you will be pleased with your Number Two.
She is very beautiful (Bond frowned), very beautiful in-
deed.' Satisfied with Bond's reaction, Mathis con-
tinued: 'She has black hair, blue eyes, and splendid ...
er . . . protuberances. Back and front,' he added. 'And
she is a wireless expert which, though sexually less in-
teresting, makes her a perfect employee of Radio
Stentor and assistant to myself in my capacity as
wireless salesman for this rich summer season down
here.' He grinned. 'We are both staying in the hotel,
and my assistant will thus be on hand in case your new
radio breaks down. All new machines, even French
ones, are apt to have teething troubles in the first day or
two. And occasionally at night,' he added with an
Bond was not amused. 'What the hell do they want to
send me a woman for,' he said bitterly. 'Do they think
this is a bloody picnic?'
Mathis interrupted. 'Calm yourself, my dear James.
She is as serious as you could wish and as cold as an
icicle. She speaks French like a native and knows her job
backwards. Her cover's perfect, and I have arranged for
her to team up with you "quite smoothly. What is more
natural than that you should pick up a pretty girl here?
As a Jamaican millionaire/ he coughed respectfully,
'what with your hot blood and all, you would look
naked without one.'
Bond grunted dubiously.
'Any other surprises?' he asked suspiciously.
' Nothing very much,' answered Mathis. 'LeChiffre is
installed in his villa. It's about ten miles down the coast
road. He had his two guards with him. They look pretty
capable fellows. One of them has been seen visiting a
little pension in the town where three mysterious and
rather subhuman characters checked in two days ago.
They may be part of the team. Their papers are in or-
der — stateless Czechs apparently — but one of our men
says the language they talk in their room is Bulgarian.
We don't see many of those around. They're mostly
used against the Turks and the Yugoslavs. They're
stupid, but obedient. The Russians use them for simple
killings or as fall-guys for more complicated ones.'
'Thanks very much. Which is mine to be?' asked
Bond. 'Anything else?'
'No. Come to the bar of the Hermitage before lunch.
I'll fix the introduction. Ask her to dinner this evening.
Then it will be natural for her to come into the Casino
with you. I'll be there too, but in the background. I've
got one or two good chaps, and we'll keep an eye on
you. Oh, and there's an American called Leiter here,
staying in the hotel. Felix Leiter. He's the C.I. A. chap
from Fontainebleau. London told me to tell you. He
looks okay. May come in useful. '
A torrent of Italian burst from the wireless set on the
floor. Mathis switched it off and they exchanged some
phrases about the set and about how Bond should pay
for it. Then with effusive farewells and a final wink
Mathis bowed himself out.
Bond sat at the window and gathered his thoughts.
Nothing that Mathis had told him was reassut^ng. He
was completely blown and under really professional sur-
veillance. An attempt might be made to put him away
even before he had a chance to pit himself against Le
Chiffre at the tables. The Russians had no stupid
prejudices about murder. And then there was this pest
of a girl. He sighed. Women were for recreation. On a
job, they got in the;; way and fogged things up with sex
and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they
carried around. One had to look out for them and take
care of them. -
'Bitch,' said Bond, and then remembering the
Muntzes, he said 'bitch' again more loudly and walked
out of the room.
CHAPTER 5 .
The Girl from Headquarters
It was twelve o'clock when Bond left the Splen-
dide, and the clock on the mairie was stumbling through
its midday carillon. There was a strong scent of pine and
mimosa in the air, and the freshly watered gardens of
the Casino opposite, interspersed with neat gravel par-
terres and paths, lent the scene a pretty formalism more
appropriate to ballet than to melodrama.
The sun shone, and there was a gaiety and sparkle in
the air which seemed to promise well for the new era of
fashion and prosperity for which the little seaside town,
after many vicissitudes, was making its gallant bid.
Royale-les-Eaux, which lies near the mouth of the
Somme before the flat coast-line soars up from the
beaches of southern Picardy to the Brittany cliffs which
run on to Le Havre, had experienced much the same
fortunes as Trouville.
Royale (without the Eaux) also started as a small
fishing-village, and its rise to fame as a fashionable
watering-place during the Second Empire was as
meteoric as that of Trouville. But as Deauville killed
Trouville, so, after a long period of decline,; did Le
Touquet kill Royale.
At the turn pf the century, when things were going
badly for the little seaside town and when the fashion
was to combine pleasure with a 'cure,' a natural spring
in the hills behind Royale was discovered to contain
enough diluted sulphur to have a beneficent effect on
the liver. Since all French people suffer from liver com-
plaints, Royale quickly became Royale-les-Eaux, and
Eau Royale, in a torpedo-shaped bottle, grafted itself
demurely on to the tail of the mineral-water lists in
hotels and restaurant cars.
It did not long withstand the powerful combines of
Vichy and Perrier and Vittel. There came a series of
lawsuits; a number "of people lost a lot of money, and
very soon its sale was again entirely local. Royale fell
back on the takings from French and English families
v during the summer, on its fishing-fleet in winter and on
the crumbs which fell to its elegantly dilapidated Casino
from the tables at Le Touquet.
But there was something splendid about the Negresco
baroque of the Casino Royale, a strong whiff of Vic-
torian elegance and luxury, and in 1950 Royale caught,
the fancy of a syndicate in Paris which disposed of large
funds belonging to a group of expatriate Vichyites.
Brighton had been revived since the war, and Nice.
Nostalgia for more specious, golden times might be a
source of revenue.
The Casino was repainted in its original white and
gilt, and the rooms decorated in the palest grey with
wine-red carpets and curtains. Vast chandeliers were
suspended from the ceilings. The gardens were spruced,
and the fountains played again, and the two main
hotels, the Splendide and the Hermitage, were prinked
and furbished and restaffed.
Even the small town and the vieux-port managed to
fix welcoming smiles across their ravaged faces, and the
THE GIRL FROM HEADQUARTERS
main street became gay with the 'vitrines' of great Paris
jewellers and couturiers, tempted down for a butterfly
season by rent-free sites and lavish promises.
Then the Mahomet Ali Syndicate was cajoled into
starting a high game in the Casino and the Socie"te des
Bains de Mer de Royale felt that now at last Le Touquet
would have to yield up some of the treasure stolen over
the years from its parent plage.
Against the background of this luminous and
sparkling stage Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his
mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark
profession an affront to his fellow actors.
He shrugged away the momentary feeling of unease
and walked round the back of his hotel and down the
ramp to the garage. Before his rendezvous at the Her-
mitage he decided to take his car down the coast road
and have a quick look at Le Chiffre's villa and then
drive back by the inland road until it crossed the route
nationale to Paris.
Bond's car was his only personal hobby. One of the
last of the 4'/i-litre Bentleys with the supercharger by
Amherst Villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933
and had kept it in careful storage through the war. It
was still serviced every year and, in London, a former
Bentley mechanic, who worked in a garage near Bond's
Chelsea flat, tended it with jealous care. Bond drove it
hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure. It
was a battleship-grey convertible coupe, which really
did convert, and it was capable of touring at ninety with
thirty miles an hour in reserve.
Bond eased the car out of the garage and up the ramp,
and soon the loitering drumbeat of the two-inch exhaust
was echoing down the tree-lined boulevard, through the
crowded main street of the little town, and off through
the sand dunes to the south.
An hour later, Bond walked into the Hermitage bar
and chose a table near one of the broad windows.
The room was sumptuous with those overmasculine
trappings which, together with briar pipes and wire-
haired terriers, spell luxury in France. Everything was
brass-studded leather and polished mahogany. The cur-
tains and carpets were in royal blue! The waiters wore
striped waistcoats and green baize aprons. Bond or-
dered an Americano and examined the sprinkling of
overdressed customers, mostly from Paris he guessed,
who sat talking with focus and vivacity, creating that
theatrically clubbable atmosphere of Pheure de
The men were drinking inexhaustible quarter-bottles
of champagne, the women dry Martinis.
'Moi, j'adore le "dry," ' a bright-faced girl at the
next table said to her companion, too neat in his un-
seasonable tweeds, who gazed at her with moist brown
eyes over the top of an expensive shooting-stick from
Hermes, 'fait avec du Gordon's, bien entendu.'
'D'accord, Daisy. Mais tu sais, un zeste de citron
Bond's eye was caught by the tall figure of Mathis on
the pavement outside, his face turned in animation to a
dark haired girl in grey. His arm was linked in hers, high
Up above the elbow, and yet there was a lack of intimacy
in their appearance, an ironical chill in the girl's profile,
which made them seem two separate people rather than
a couple. Bond waited for them to come through the
street-door into the bar, but for appearances' sake con-
tinued to stare out of the window at the passers-by.
'But surely it is Monsieur Bond?' Mathis's Voice
behind him was full of surprised delight. Bond, ap-
propriately flustered, rose to his feet. 'Can it be that you
are alone? Are you awaiting someone? May I present
my colleague, Mademoiselle Lynd? My dear, this is the
gentleman from Jamaica with whom I had the pleasure
of doing business this morning.'
Bond inclined himself with a reserved friendliness. 'It
would be a great pleasure,' he addressed himself to the
girl. 'I am alone. Would you both care to join me?' He
pulled out a chair, and while they sat down he beckoned
THE GIRL FROM HEADQUARTERS
to a waiter and despite Mathis's expostulations insisted
on ordering the drinks— a fine a l'eau for Mathis and a
Bacardi for the girl.
Mathis and Bond exchanged cheerful talk about the
fine weather and the prospects of a revival in the for- x
tunes of Royale-les-Eaux. The girl sat silent. She ac-
cepted pne of Bond's cigarettes, examined it, and then
smoked it appreciatively and without affectation,
drawing the smoke deeply into her lungs with, a little
sigh and then exhaling it casually through her lips and
nostrils. Her movements were economical and precise
with no trace of self-consciousness.
Bond felt her presence strongly. While he and Mathis
talked, he turned from time to time towards her,
politely including her in the conversation, but adding up
the impressions recorded by each glance.
Her hair was very black, and she wore it cut square
and low on the nape of the neck, framing her face to
below the clear and beautiful line of her jaw. Although
it was heavy and moved with the movements of her
head, she did not constantly pat it back into place, but
let it alone. Her eyes were wide apart and deep blue, and
they gazed candidly back at Bond with a touch of
ironical disinterest which, to his annoyance, he found he
would like to shatter, roughly. Her skin was lightly sun-
tanned and bore no trace of makeup except on her
mouth, which was wide and sensual. Her bare arms and
hands had a quality of repose, and the general im-
pression Of restraint in her appearance and movements
was carried even to her fingernails, which were un-
painted and cut short. Round her neck she wore a plain
gold chain of wide flat links, and on the fourth finger of
the right hand a broad topaz ring. Her medium-length
dress was of grey soie sauvage with a square-cut bodice,
lasciviously tight across her fine breasts. The skirt Was
closely pleated and flowered down from a narrow, but
not^a thin, waist. She wore a three-inch, hand-stitched
black belt. A hand-stitched black sabretache rested on
34 CASINO ROYALE
the chair beside her, together with a wide cartwheel hat
of gold straw, its crown encircled by a thin black velvet
ribbon which tied at the back in a short bow. Her shoes
were square-toed of plain black leather.
Bond was excited by her beauty and intrigued by her
composure. The prospect of working with her
stimulated him. At the same time he felt a vague
disquiet. On an impulse he touched wood.
Mathis had noticed Bond's preoccupation. After a
time he rose.
'Forgive me, ' he said to the girl, 'while I telephone to
the Dubernes. I must arrange my rendezvous for dinner
tonight. Are you sure you won't mind being left to your
own devices this evening?'
She shook her head. -
Bond took the cue and, as Mathis crossed the room to
the telephone booth beside the bar, he said: 'If you are
going to be alone tonight, would you care to have dinner
She smiled with the first hint of conspiracy she had
shown. 'I would like to very much,' she said, 'and then
perhaps you would chaperon me to the Casino where
Monsieur Mathis tells me you are very much at home.
Perhaps I will bring you luck.'
With Mathis gone, her attitude towards him showed a
sudden warmth. She seemed to acknowledge that they
were a team and, as they discussed the time and place of
their meeting, Bond realized that it would be quite easy
after all to plan the details of his project with her. He
felt that after all she was interested and excited by her
role and that she would work willingly with him. He had
imagined many hurdles before establishing a rapport,
but now he felt he could get straight down to
professional details. He was quite honest to himself
about the hypocrisy of his attitude towards her. As a
woman, he wanted to sleep with her, but only when the
job had been done.
When Mathis came back to the table Bond called for
THE GIRL FROM HEADQUARTERS
his bill. He explained that he was expected back at his
hotel to have lunch with friends. When for a moment he
held her hand in his he felt a warmth of affection and
understanding pass between them that would have
seemed impossible half an hour earlier.
The girl's eyes followed him out on to the boulevard.
Mathis moved his chair close to hers and said softly:
'That is a very good friend of mine. I am glad you have
met each other. I can already feel the ice-floes on the
two rivers breaking up.' He smiled. 'I don't think Bond
has ever been melted. It will be a new experience for
him. And for you.'
She did not answer him directly.
'He is very good-looking. He reminds me rather of
Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and
ruthless in his ... '
The sentence was never finished. Suddenly a few feet
, away the entire plate-glass window shivered into con-
fetti. The blast of a terrific explosion, very near, hit
them so that they were rocked back in their chairs.
There was an instant of silence. Some objects pattered
down on to the pavement outside. Bottles slowly
toppled off the shelves behind the bar. Then there were
screams and a stampede for the door.
'Stay there,' said Mathis.
He kicked back his chair and hurtled through the
empty window-frame on to the payment.
Two Men in Straw Hats
When Bond left the bar he walked purposefully
along the pavement flanking the tree-lined boulevard
towards his hotel a few hundred yards away. He was
The day was still beautiful, but by now the sun was
very hot and the plane-trees, spaced about twenty feet
apart on the grass verge between the pavement and the
broad tarmac, gave a cool shade.
There were few people abroad and the two men stand-
ing quietly under a tree on the opposite side of the
boulevard looked out of place.
Bond noticed them when he was still a hundred yards
away and when the same distance separated them from
the ornamental 'porte-cochere' of the Splendide.
There was something rather disquieting about their
appearance. They were both small, and they were
dressed alike in dark and, Bond reflected, rather hot-
looking suits. They had the appearance of a variety turn
waiting for a bus on the way to the theatre. Each wore a
TWO MEN IN STRAW HATS
straw hat with a thick black ribbon as a concession,
perhaps, to the holiday atmosphere of the resort, and
the. brims of these and the shadow from the tree under
which they stood obscured their faces. Incongruously,
each dark, squat little figure was illuminated by a touch
of bright colour. They were both carrying square
camera-cases slung from the shoulder.
And one case was bright red and the other case bright
By the time Bond had taken in these details, he had
come to within fifty yards of the two men. He was
reflecting on the ranges of various types of weapon and
the possibilities of cover when an extraordinary and
terrible scene was enacted.
Red-man seemed to give a short nod to Blue-man.
With a quick movement Blue-man unslung his blue
camera case. Blue-man, and Bond could not see exactly
as the trunk of a plane-tree beside him just then in-
tervened to obscure his vision, bent forward and seemed ,
to fiddle with the case. Then with a blinding flash of
white light there was the ear-splitting crack of a mon-
strous explosion and Bond, despite the protection of the
tree-trunk, was slammed down to the pavement by a
solid bolt of hot air which dented his cheeks and
stomach as if they had been made of paper. He lay,
gazing up at the sun, while the air (or so it seemed to
him) went on twanging with the explosion as if someone
had hit the bass register of a piano with a sledge
When, dazed and half-conscious, he raised himself on
one knee, a ghastly rain of pieces of flesh and shreds of
blood-soaked clothing fell on him and around him,
mingled with branches and gravel. Then a shower ^ of
small twigs and leaves. From all sides came the sharp
tinkle of falling glass. Above in the sky hung a
mushroom of black smoke which rose and dissolved as
he drunkenly watched it. There was an obscene smell of
high explosive, of burning wood, and of, yes, that was
it— roast mutton. For fifty yards down the boulevard
the trees were leafless and charred. Opposite, two of
them had snapped off near the base and lay drunkenly
across the road. Between them there was a still smoking
crater. Of the two men in straw hats, there remained ab-
solutely nothing. But there were red traces on the road,
and on the pavements and against the trunks of the
trees, and there were glittering shreds high up in the
Bond felt himself starting to vomit.
It was Mathis who got to him first, and by that time
Bond was standing with his arm round the tree which
had saved his life.
Stupefied, but unharmed, he allowed Mathis to lead
him off towards the Splendide from which guests and
servants were pouring in chattering fright. As the
distant clang of bells heralded the arrival of ambulances
and fire-engines, they managed to push through the
throng and up the short stairs and along the corridor to
Mathis paused only to turn on the radio in front of
the fireplace, then, while Bond stripped off his blood-
flecked clothes, Mathis sprayed him with questions.
When it came to the description of the two men,
Mathis tore the telephone off its hook beside Bond's
. . and tell the police,' he concluded, 'tell them that
the Englishman from Jamaica who was knocked over by
the blast is my affair. He is unhurt, and they are not to
worry him. I will explain to them in half an hour. They
should tell the Press that it was apparently a vendetta
between two Bulgarian communists and that one killed
the other with a bomb. They need say nothing of the
third Bulgar who must have been hanging about
somewhere, but they must get him at all costs. He will
certainly head for Paris. Roadblocks everywhere. Un-
derstood? Alors, bonne chance.'
TWO MEN IN STRAW HATS
Mathis turned back to Bond and heard him to the
'Merde, but you were lucky,' he said when Bond had
finished. 'Clearly the bomb was intended for you. It
must have been faulty. They intended to throw it and
then dodge behind their tree. But it all came out the
other way round. Never mind. We will discover the
facts.' He paused. 'But certainly it is a curious affair.
And these people appear to be taking you seriously.'
Mathis looked affronted. 'But how did these sacre"
Bulgars intend to escape capture? And what was the
significance of the red and the blue cases? We must try
and find some fragments of the red one.'
Mathis bit his nails. He was excited, and his eyes glit-
tered. This was becoming a formidable and dramatic af-
fair, in many aspects of which he was now involved per-
sonally. Certainly it was no longer just a case of holding
Bond's coat while he had his private battle with Le
Chiffre in the Casino. Mathis jumped up.
'Now get a drink and some lunch and a rest,' he or-
dered Bond. 'For me, I must get my nose quickly into
this affair before the police have muddied the trail with
their big black boots.'
Mathis turned off the radio and waved an af-
fectionate farewell. The door slammed, and silence set-
tled on the room. Bond sat for a while by the window
and enjoyed being alive.
Later, as Bond was finishing his first straight whisky
'on the rocks' and was contemplating the p§te de foie .
gras and cold langouste which the waiter had just laid
out for him, the telephone rang.
'This is Mademoiselle Lynd.'
The voice was low and anxious.
'Are you all right?'
'I'm glad: Please take care of yourself.'
She rang off.
Bond shook himself, then he picked up his knife and
selected the thickest of the pieces of hot toast .
He suddenly thought: two of them are dead, and I
have got one more on my side. It's a start.
He dipped the knife into the glass of very hot water
which stood beside the pot of Strasbourg porcelain and
reminded himself to tip the waiter doubly for this par-
Rouge et Noir
Bond was determined to be completely fit and
relaxed for a gambling session which might last most of
the night. He ordered a masseur for three o'clock. After
the remains of his luncheon had been removed, he sat at
his window gazing out to sea until there came a knock
on the door as the masseur, a Swede, presented himself.
Silently he got to work on Bond from his feet to his
neck, melting the tensions in his body and calming his
still twanging nerves. Even the long purpling bruises
down Bond's left shoulder and side ceased to throb, and
when the Swede had gone Bond fell into a dreamless
He awoke in the evening completely refreshed.
After a cold shower, Bond walked over to the Casino.
Since the night before he had lost the mood of the
tables. He needed to reestablish that focus which is half
mathematical and half intuitive and which, with a slow
pulse and a sanguine temperament, he knew to be the
essential equipment of any gambler who was set on
Bond had always been a gambler. He loved the dry
riffle of the cards and the constant unemphatic drama
of the quiet figures round the green tables. He liked the
solid, studied comfort of cardrooms and casinos, the
well-padded arms of the chairs, the glass of champagne
or whisky at the elbow, the quiet unhurried attention of
good servants. He was amused by the impartiality of the
roulette ball and of the playing cards — and their eternal
bias. He liked being an actor and a spectator and from
his chair to take part in other men's dramas and
decisions, until it came to his own turn to say that vital
'yes' or 'no,' generally on a fifty-fifty chance.
Above all, he liked it that everything was one's own
fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck
was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted
with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it
had to be understood and recognized for what it was
and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds,
, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play
for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved
and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly
wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pur-
sued. But he was honest enough to, admit that he had
never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women.
One day, and he accepted the fact, he would be brought
to his knees by love or by luck. When that happened he
knew that he too would be branded with the deadly
question-mark he recognized so often in others, the
promise to -pay before you have lost: the acceptance of
But on this June evening when Bond walked through
the 'kitchen' into the salle priv6e, it was with a sensation
of confidence and cheerful anticipation that he changed
a million francs into plaques of fifty mille and took a
seat next to the chef de partie at Roulette. Table
Number 1. .
Bond borrowed the chef's card and studied the run of
the ball since the session had started at three o'clock
that afternoon. He always did this although he knew
that- each turn of the wheel, each fall of the ball into a
numbered slot, had absolutely no connexion with its
predecessor. He accepted that the game begins afresh
each time the croupier picks up the ivory ball with his
right hand, gives one of the four spokes of the wheel a
controlled twist clockwise with the same hand and, with
a third motion, also with the right hand, flicks the ball
round the outer rim of the wheel anticlockwise, against
It was obvious that all this ritual and all the
mechanical minutiae of the wheel, of the numbered slots
and the cylinder, had been devised and perfected over
the years so that neither the skill of the croupier nor any
bias in the wheel could affect the fall of the ball. And
yet it is a convention among roulette players, and Bond
rigidly adhered to it, to take careful note of the past
history of each session and to be guided by any pe-
culiarities in the run of the wheel. To note, for instance,
and consider significant, sequences of more than two on
a single number or of more than four at the other
chances down to evens.
Bond didn't defend the practice. He simply main-
tained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into
gambling, the more you took out.
On the record of that particular table, after about
three hours' play, Bond could see little of interest except
that the last dozen had been out of favour, It was his
practice to play always with the wheel, and only to turn
against its previous pattern and start on a new tack after
a zero had turned up. So he decided to play one of his
favourite gambits and back two— in this case the first
two— dozens, each with the maximum— one hundred
thousand francs. He thus had two-thirds of the board
covered (less the zero) and, since the dozens pay odds of
two to one, he stood to win a hundred thousand francs
every time any number lower than 25 turned up.
After seven coups he had won six times. He lost on
the seventh When 30 came up. His net profit was half a
million francs. He kept off the table for the eighth
throw. Zero turned up. This piece of luck cheered him
further and, accepting the 30 as a finger-post to the last
dozen, he decided to back the first and last dozens until
he had lost twice. Ten throws later the middle dozen
came up twice, costing him four hundred thousand
francs, but he rose from the table eleven hundred
thousand francs to the good.
Directly Bond had started playing in maximums, his
game had become the centre of interest at the table. As
he seemed to be in luck, one or two pilot fish started to
swim with the shark. Sitting directly opposite, one of
these, whom Bond took to be "an American, had shown
more than the usual friendliness and pleasure at his
share of the winning streak. He had smiled once or twice
across the table, and there was something pointed in the
way he duplicated Bond's movements, placing his two
modest plaques of ten mille exactly opposite Bond's
larger ones. When Bond rose, he too pushed back his
chair and called cheerfully across the table:
'Thanks for the ride. Guess I owe you a drink. Will
you join me?'
Bond had a feeling that this might be the CI. A. man.
He knew he was right as they strolled off together
towards the bar, after Bond had thrown a plaque of ten
mille to the croupier and had given a mille to the huissier
who drew back his chair.
'My name's Felix Leiter,' said the American. 'Glad to
meet you. '
'Mine's Bond— James Bond.'
ROUGE ETNOIR 45
'Oh, yes,' said his companion, 'and now let's see.
What shall we have to celebrate?'
Bond insisted on ordering Leiter's Haig-and Haig 'on
the rocks,' and then he looked carefully at the barman.
'A dry Martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne
'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of
vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well
until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-
peel. Got it?'
'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased
with the idea.
'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
Bond laughed. 'When I'm-er-concentrating,' he
explained, 'I never have more. than one drink before
dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong
and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions
of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This
drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I
can think of a good name.'
He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted
with the pale golden drink, slightly aerated by the
bruising of the shaker. He reached for it and took a long
'Excellent,' he said to the barman, 'but if you can get
a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will
find it still better.'
'Mais n'enculons pas des mouches,' he added in an
aside to the barman. The barman grinned.
'That's a vulgar way of saying "we won't split
hairs," ' explained Bond.
But Leiter was still interested in Bond's drink. 'You
certainly think things out,' he said with amusement as
they carried their glasses to a corner of the room. He
lowered his voice:
'You'd better call it the "Molotov Cocktail" after the
one you tasted this afternoon.' ,
They sat down. Bond laughed.
- 'I see that the spot marked X has been roped off, and
they're making cars take a detour over the pavement. I
hope it hasn't frightened away any of the big money. '
'People are accepting the communist story or else
they think it was a burst gas-main. All the burnt trees
are coming down tonight and if they work things here
like they do at Monte Carlo, there won't be a trace of
the mess left in the morning.'
Leiter shook a Chesterfield out of his pack. 'I'm glad
to be working with you on this job,' he said, looking
into his drink, 'so I'm particularly glad you didn't get
blown to glory. Our people are definitely interested.
They think it's just as important as your friends do, and
they don't think there's anything crazy about it at all. In
fact, Washington's pretty sick we're not running the
show, but you know what the big brass is like. I expect
your fellows are much the same in London. '
Bond nodded. 'Apt to be a bit jealous of their
scoops,' he admitted.
'Anyway, I'm under your orders and I'm to give you
any help you ask for. With Mathis and his boys here,
there may not be much that isn't taken care of already.
But, anyway, here I am. '
'I'm delighted you are,' said Bond. 'The opposition
has got me, and probably you and Mathis too, all
weighed up, and it seems no holds are going to be
barred. I'm glad Le Chiffre seems as desperate as we
thought he was. I'm afraid I haven't got anything very
specific for you to do, but I'd be grateful if you'd stick
around the Casino this evening. I've got an assistant, a
Miss Lynd, and I'd like to hand her over to you when I
start playing. You won't be ashamed of her. She's a
good-looking girl.' He smiled at Leiter. 'And you might
mark his two gunmen. I can't ; imagine he'll try a
roughhouse, but you never know. '
'I may be able to help,' said Leiter. 'I was a regular in
our Marine Corps before I joined this racket, if that
means anything to you.' He looked at Bond with a hint
. 'It does,' said Bond.
It turned out that Leiter was from Texas. While he
talked on about his job with the Joint Intelligence Staff
of N.A.T.O. and the difficulty of maintaining security
in an organization where so many nationalities were
represented, Bond reflected th^t good Americans were
fine people and that most of them seemed to come from
Felix Leiter was about thirty-five. He was tall with a
thin bony frame and his lightweight, tan-coloured suit
hung loosely from his shoulders like the clothes of
Frank Sinatra. His movements and speech were slow,"
but one had the feeling that there was plenty of speed
and strength in him, and that he. would be a tough-and
cruel fighter. As he sat hunched over the table, he
seemed to have some of the jackknife quality of a
falcon. There was this impression also in his face, in the
sharpness of his chin and cheekbones and the wide wry
mouth. His grey eyes had a feline slant which was in-
creased by his habit of screwing them up against the
smoke of the Chesterfields which he tapped out of the
pack in a chain. The permanent wrinkles which this
habit had etched at the corners gave the impression that
he smiled more with his eyes than with his mouth. A
mop of straw-coloured hair lent his face a boyish look
which closer examination contradicted. Although he
seemed to talk quite openly about his duties in Paris,
Bond soon noticed that he never spoke of his American
colleagues in Europe or in Washington, and he guessed
that Leiter held the interests of his own organization far
above the mutual concerns of the North Atlantic Allies.
Bond sympathized with him.
By the time Leiter had swallowed another whisky and
Bond had told him about the Muntzes and his short
reconnaissance trip down the coast that morning, it was
seven-thirty, and they decided to stroll over to their
hotel together. Before leaving the Casino, Bond
deposited his total capital of twenty-four million at the
caisse, keeping only a few notes of ten mille as pocket-
As they walked across to the Splendide, they saw that
a team of workmen was already busy at the scene of the
explosion. Several trees were uprooted and hoses frOm
three municipal tank cars were washing down the
boulevard and pavements. The bomb-crater had disap-
peared and only a few passers-by had paused to gape.
Bond assumed that similar face-lifting had already been
carried out at the Hermitage and to the, shops and front-
ages which had lost their windows. "
In the warm blue dusk Royale-les-Eaux was once
again orderly and peaceful.
'Who's the concierge working for?' asked Leiter as
they approached the hotel. Bond was not sure, and said
Mathis had been unable to enlighten him, 'Unless you
have bought him yourself,' he had said, 'you must
assume that he has been bought by the other side. All
concierges are venal. It is not their fault. They are
trained to regard all hotel guests except maharajahs as
potential cheats and thieves. They have as much concern
for your comfort or welKbeing as crocodiles.'
Bond remembered Mathis' s pronouncement when the
concierge hurried up to inquire whether he had
recovered from his most unfortunate experience of the
afternoon. Bond thought it well to say that he still felt a
little bit shaky. He hoped that if the intelligence were
relayed; Le Chiffre would at any rate start playing that
evening with a basic misinterpretation of his adversary's
strength. The concierge proffered glycerine hopes for
ROUGE ET NOIR 49
Letter's room was on one of the upper floors and they
parted company at the lift after arranging to see each
other at the Casino at around half-past ten or eleven,
the usual hour for the high tables to begin play.
Pink Lights and Champagne
Bond walked up to his room, which again
showed no sign of trespass, threw off his clothes, took a
long hot bath followed by an ice-cold shower, and lay
down on his bed. There remained an hour in which to
rest and compose his thoughts before he met the girl in
the Splendide bar, an hour to examine minutely the
details of his plans for the game, and for after the game,
in all the various circumstances of victory or defeat. He
had to plan the attendant roles of Mathis, Letter, and
the girl and visualize the reactions of the enemy in
various contingencies. He closed his eyes, and his
thoughts pursued his imagination through a series of
carefully constructed scenes as if he were watching the
tumbling chips of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope.
- At twenty minutes to nine he had exhausted all the
permutations which might result from his duel with Le
Chiffre. He rose and dressed, dismissing the future
completely from his mind.
As he tied his thin, double-ended, black satin tie, he
PINK LIGHTS AND CHAMPAGNE
paused for a moment and examined himself levelly in
the mirror. His grey-blue eyes looked calmly back with a
hint of ironical inquiry and the short lock of black hair
which would never stay in place slowly subsided to form
a thick comma above his right eyebrow. With the thin
vertical scar down his right cheek the general effect was
faintly piratical. Not much of Hoagy Carmichael there,
thought Bond, as he filled a flat, light, gun-metal box
with fifty of the Morland cigarettes with the triple gold
band. Mathis had told him of the girl's comment.
He slipped the case into his hip pocket and snapped
his black oxidized Ronson to see if it needed fuel. After
pocketing the thin sheaf of ten-mille notes, he opened a
drawer and took out a light chamois leather holster and
slipped it over his left shoulder so that it hung about
three inches below his armpit. He then took from under
his shirts in another drawer a very flat .25 Beretta
automatic With a skeleton grip, extracted the clip and
the single round in the barrel and whipped the action to
and fro several times, finally pulling the trigger on the
empty chamber. He charged the weapon again, loaded
it, put up the safety catch, and dropped it into the
shallow pouch of the shoulder-holster. He looked
carefully round the room to see if anything had been
forgotten and slipped his single-breasted dinner-jacket
coat over his heavy silk evening shirt. He felt cool and
comfortable. He verified in the mirror that there was
absolutely no sign of the flat gun under his left arm,
gave a final pull at his narrow tie and walked out of the
door and locked it.
When he turned at the foot of the short stairs towards
the bar, he heard the lift-door open behind him and a
cool voice call, 'Good evening.'-
It was the girl. She stood and waited for him to come
up to her.
He had remembered her beauty exactly. He was not
surprised to be thrilled by it again.
Her dress, was of black velvet, simple and yet with the
touch of splendour that only half a dozen couturiers in
the world can achieve. There was a thin necklace of
diamonds at her throat and a diamond clip in the low
vee which just exposed the jutting swell of her breasts.
She carried a plain black evening bag, a flat oblong
which she now held, her arm akimbo, at her waist. Her
jet-black hair hung straight and simply to the final in-
ward curl below the chin.
She looked quite superb, and Bond's heart lifted.
'You look absolutely lovely. Business must be good in
the radio world!'
She put her arm through his. 'Do you mind if we go
straight in to dinner?' she asked. 'I want to make a
grand entrance, and the truth is there's a horrible secret
about black velvet. It marks when you sit down. And,
by the way, if you hear me scream tonight, I shall have
sat on a cane chair.'
Bond laughed. 'Of course, let's go straight in. We'll
have a glass of vodka while we order our dinner. '
She gave him an amused glance, and he corrected
himself: 'Or a cocktail, of course, if you prefer it. The
food here's the best in Royale.'
For an instant he felt nettled at the touch of irony, the
lightest shadow of a snub, with which she had met his
decisiveness, and at the way he had risen to her quick
But it was only an infinitesimal clink of foils and as
the bowing maitre d'hStel led them through the crowded
room, it was forgotten as Bond in her wake watched the
heads of the diners turn to look at her.
The fashionable part of the restaurant was beside the
wide crescent of window built out like the broad stern of
a ship over the hotel gardens, but Bond had chosen a
table in one of the mirrored alcoves at the back of the
great room. These had survived from Edwardian days
and they were secluded and gay in white and gilt, with
the red silk-shaded table and wall lights of the late
PINK LIGHTS AND CHAMPAGNE
As they deciphered the maze of purple ink which
covered the double folio menu, Bond beckoned to the
sommelier. He turned to his companion.
'Have you decided?'
'I would love a glass of vodka,' she said simply, and
went back to her study of the menu.
'A small carafe of vodka, very cold,' ordered Bond.
He said to her abruptly: 'I can't drink the health of your
new frock without knowing your Christian name.'
'Vesper, ' she said. 'Vesper Lynd. ' ,.
Bond gave her a look of inquiry.
'It's rather abore always having to explain/but I /'was
born in the evening, on a very stormy evening according
to my parents. Apparently they wanted to remember it.'
She smiled. 'Some people like it, others don't. I'm just
used to it.'
'I think it's a fine name,' said Bond. An idea struck
him. 'Can I borrow it? ? He explained about the special
Martini he had invented and his search for a name for it.
'The Vesper,' he said. 'It sounds perfect and it's very
appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will
now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it? '
'So long as I can try one first*' she promised.. 'It
sounds a drink to be proud of.' 1
'We'll have one together when all this is finished,'
said Bond. 'Win or lose. And now have you decided
what you would like to have for dinner? Please be ex-
pensive, ' he, added as he sensed her hesitation, 'or you'll
let down that beautiful frock.' .'-,■■•;
'I'd made two choices,' she laughed, 'and either
would have been delicious; but behaving like a
millionaire occasionally is a wonderful treat, and if
you're sure . . . well, I'd like to start with caviar and
then have a/plain grilled rognon de veau with pommes '
soufflSs. And then I'd like to have fraises des bois with a
lot of cream. Is it very shameless to be so certain and so
expensive? ' She smiled at him inquiringly.
'It's a virtue, and anyway' it's only a good plain
wholesome meal.' He turned to the maitre d'hdtel. 'And
bring plenty of toast.
'The trouble always is,' he explained to Vesper, 'not
how to get enough caviar, but how to get enough toast
'Now,' he turned back to the menu, 'I myself will
accompany Mademoiselle with the caviar; but then I
would like a very small tournedos, underdone, with
sauce Bearnaise artd a coeur d'artichaut. While
Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have an
avocado pear with a little French dressing. Do you ap-
The maitred'hdtel bowed.
'My compliments, mademoiselle and monsieur. Mon-
sieur George . . .' He turned to the sommelier and
repeated the two dinners for his benefit .
'Parfait,' said the sommelier, proffering the leather-
bound wine list.
'If you agree,' said Bond, 'I would prefer to drink
champagne with you tonight. It is a cheerful wine, and it
suits the occasion — I hope,' he added.
'Yes, I would like champagne, ' she said.
With his finger on the page, Bond turned to the
sommelier: 'The Taittinger 45?'
'A fine wine, monsieur,' said the sommelier. 'But if
Monsieur will permit,' he pointed with his pencil, 'the
Brut Blanc de Blanc 1943 of the same marque is without
Bond smiled. 'So be it,' he said.
"That is not a well-known brand,' Bond explained to
his companion, 'but it is probably the finest champagne
in the world.' He grinned suddenly at the touch of
pretension in his remark.
'You must forgive me,' he said. 'I take a ridiculous
pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from
being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot
of trouble over details. It's very pernickety and old-
maidish really, but then when I'm working I generally
PINK LIGHTS AND CHAMPAGNE 55
have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more in T
teresting when one takes trouble.' ■
Vesper smiled at him.
'I like it,' she said. 'I like doing everything fully, get-
ting the most out of everything one does. I think that's
the way to live. But it sounds rather schoolgirlish when
one says it, 5 she added apologetically.
The little carafe of Vodka had arrived in its bowl of
crushed ice, and Bond filled their glasses.
'Well, I agree with you anyway,' he said, 'and now,
here's luck for tonight, Vesper.' , ,
'Yes,' said the girl quietly, as she held up her small,
glass and looked at him with a curious directness
straight in the'eyes. 'I hope all will go well tonight. -
She seemed to Bond to give a quick involuntary shrug
of the shoulders as she spoke, but then she leant im-
pulsively towards him. :
'I have some news for you from Mathis. He was
longing to tell you himself. It's, about the bomb: It's a
The Game is Baccarat
Bond looked round; but there was no possibility
of being overheard, and the cayiar would be waiting for
the hot toast from the kitchens.
'Tell me. ' His eyes glittered with interest.
'They got the third Bulgar, on the road to Paris. He
was in a Citroen, and he had picked up two English
hikers as protective colouring. At the roadblock his
French was so bad that they asked for his papers, and he
brought out a gun and shot one of the motor-cycle
patrol. But the other man got him, I don't know how,
and managed to stop him committing suicide. Then they
took him down to Rouen and extracted the story — in the
usual French fashion, I suppose.
'Apparently they were part of a pool held in France
for this sort of job — saboteurs, thugs, and so on — and
Mathis's friends are already trying to round up the rest.
They were to get two million francs for killing you, and
the agent who briefed them told them there was ab-
THE GAME IS BACCARAT
solutely no chance of being caught if they followed his
She took a sip of vodka. 'But this is the interesting
'The agent gave them the two camera-cases you saw.
He said the bright colours would make it easier for
them. He told them that the blue case contained a very
powerful smoke-bomb. The red case was the explosive.
As one of them threw the red case the other was to press
a switch on the blue case, and they would escape under
cover of the smoke. In fact, the smoke-bomb was a pure
invention to make the Bulgars think they could get
away. Both cases contained an identical high-explosive
bomb. There was no difference between the blue and the
red cases. The idea was to destroy you and the bomb-
throwers without a trace. Presumably there were other
plans for dealing with the third man. '
'Go on,' said Bond, full of admiration for the
ingenuity of the double-cross.
'Well, apparently the Bulgars thought this sounded
very fine, but cannily they decided to take no chances. It
would be better, they thought, to touch off the smoke-
bomb first and, from inside the cloud of smoke, hurl the
explosive bomb at you. What you saw was the assistant
bomb-thrower pressing down the lever on the phony
smoke-bomb; and, of course, they both went up
'The third Bulgar was waiting behind the Splendide to
pick his two friends up. When he saw what had hapr
pened, he assumed they had bungled. But the police
picked up some fragments of the unexploded red bomb,
and he was confronted with them. When he saw that
they had been tricked and that his two friends were
meant to be murdered with you, he started to talk. I ex-
pect he's still talking now. But there's nothing to link all
this with Le Chiffre. They were given the job by some
intermediary, perhaps one of Le Chiffre's guards, and
Le Chiffre's name means absolutely nothing to the one
She finished her story just as the waiters arrived with
the caviarj a mound of hot toast, and small dishes con-
taining finely chopped onion and grated hard-boiled
egg, the white in one dish and the yolk in another.
The caviar was heaped on to their plates, and they ate
for a time in silence.
After a while Bond said: 'It's very satisfactory to be a
corpse who changes places with his murderers. For them,
it certainly was a case of being hoist with their own
petard. Mathis must be very pleased with the day's
work — five of the opposition neutralized in twenty-four
hours.' And he told her how the Muntzes had been con-
'Incidentally,' he asked, 'how did you come to get
mixed up in this affair? What section are you in?'
'I'm personal assistant to Head of S,' said Vesper.
'As it was his plan he wanted his section to have a hand
in the operation, and he asked M. if I could go. It
seemed only to be a liaison job, so M. said yes although
he told my chief that you would be furious at being
given a woman to work with.' She paused and, when
Bond said nothing, continued: 'I had to meet Mathis in
Paris and come down with him. I've got a friend who is
a vendeuse with Dior, and somehow she managed to
borrow me this and the frock I was wearing this morn-
ing; otherwise I couldn't possibly have competed with
all these people.' She made a gesture towards the room.
'The office was very jealous although they didn't know
what the job was. All they knew was that I was to work
with a Double O. Of course you're our heroes. I was en-
Bond frowned. 'It's not difficult to get a Double O
number if you're prepared to kill people,' he said.
'That's all the meaning it has. It's nothing to be par-
ticularly proud of. I've got the corpses of a Japanese
cipher expert in New York and a Norwegian double
THE GAME IS BACCARAT
agent in Stockholm to thank for being a Double O.
Probably quite decent people. They just got caught up
in the gale of the world like that Yugoslav that Tito
bumped off. It's a confusing business; but if it's one's
profession one does what one's told. How do you like
the grated egg with your caviar? '
'It's a wonderful combination,' she said. 'I'm loving
my dinner. It seems a shame — ' She stopped, warned by
a cold look in Bond's eye.
'If it wasn't for the job, we wouldn't be here,' he
Suddenly he regretted the intimacy of their dinner and
of their talk. He felt that he had said too much and what
was only a working relationship had become confused.
'Let's consider what has to be done,' he said in a
matter-of-fact voice. 'I'd better explain what I'm going
to try and do, and how you can help. Which isn't very
much, I'm afraid,' he added. 'Now these are the basic
facts.' He proceeded to sketch out the plan and
enumerate the various contingencies which faced them.
The maltre d'hdtel surpervised the serving of the
second course, and then as they ate the delicious food
She listened to him coldly, but with attentive obedi-
ence. She- felt thoroughly deflated by his harshness,
while admitting to herself that she should have paid
more heed to the warnings of Head of S.
'He's a dedicated man,' her chief had said when he
gave her the assignment. 'Don't imagine this is going to
be any fun. He thinks of nothing but the job on hand
and, while it's on, he's absolute hell to work for. But
he's an expert, and there aren't many about; so you
won't be wasting your time. He's a good-looking
chap— but don't fall for him. I don't think he's got
much heart. Anyway, good luck, and don't get hurt. '
All this had been something of a challenge, and she
was pleased when she felt she attracted and interested
him, as she knew intuitively that she did. Then at a hint
that they were finding pleasure together, a hint that was
only the first words of a conventional phrase, he had
suddenly turned to ice and had brutally veered away as
if warmth were poison to him. She felt hurt and foolish.
Then she gave a mental shrug and concentrated with all
her attention on what he was saying. She would not
make the same mistake again.
' . . . and the main hope is to pray for a run of luck for
me, or against him.'
Bond was explaining just how baccarat is played.
'It's much the same as any other gambling game. The
odds against the banker and the player are more or less
even. Only a run against either can be decisive and
' 'break the bank, ' ' or break the players.
• 'Tonight, Le Chiffre, we know, has bought the bac-
carat bank from the Egyptian syndicate which is run-
ning the high tables here. He paid a million francs for it,
and his capital has'been reduced to twenty-four million.
I have about the same. There will be ten players, I ex-
pect, and we sit round the banker at a kidney-shaped
'Generally, this table is divided into two tableaux.
The banker plays two games, one against each of the
tableaux to left and right of him. In that game, the
banker should be able to win by playing off one tableau
against the other and by first-class accountancy. But
there aren't enough baccarat players yet at Royale, and
Le Chiffre is just going to pit his luck against the other
players at the single tableau. It's , unusual because the
odds in favour of the banker aren't so good; but they're
a shade in his favour and, of course, he has control of
the size of the stakes.
'Well, the banker sits there in the middle with a
croupier to rake in the cards and call the amount of each
bank and a chef de partie to umpire the game generally.
I shall be sitting as near dead opposite Le Chiffre as I
can get. In front of him he has a shoe containing six
packs of cards, well shuffled. There's absolutely no
THE GAME IS BACCARAT
chance of tampering with the shoe. The cards are shuf-
fled by the croupier and cut bygone of the players and
put into the shoe in full view of the table. We've
checked on the staff, and they're all okay. It would be
useful, but almost impossible, to mark all the cards, and
it would mean the connivance at least of the croupier.
Anyway, we shall be watching for that too. '
•Bond drank some champagne and continued.
'Now what happens at the game is this. The banker
announces an opening bank of five hundred thousand
francs, or five hundred pounds as it is now. Each seat is
numbered from the right of the banker, and the player
next to the banker, or Number 1, can accept this bet and
push his money out on to the table, or pass it if it is too
much or he doesn't want to take it. Then Number 2 has
the right to take it; and if he refuses then Number 3, and
so on round the table. If no single player takes it all, the
bet is offered to the table as a whole and everyone chips
in, including sometimes the spectators round the table,
until the five hundred thousand is made up.
'That is a small bet which would immediately be met,
but when it gets to a million or two, it's often difficult to
find a taker or even, if the bank seems to be in luck, a
group of takers to cover the bet. At that moment I shall
always try and step in and accept the bet— in fact, I shall
attack Le Chiffre's bank whenever I get a chance until
either I've bust his bank or he's bust me. It may take
some time, but in the end one of us two is bound to
break the other, irrespective of the other players at the
table, although they can, of course, make him richer or
poorer in the meantime.
'Being the banker, he's got a slight advantage in the
play; but knowing that I'm making a dead set at him
and now knowing, I hope, my capital, is bound to play
on his nerves a bit, so I'm hoping that we start about
He paused while the strawberries came, and the
For a while they ate in silence, then they talked of
other things while the coffee was served. They smoked.
Neither of them drank brandy or a liqueur. Finally,
Bond felt it was time to explain the actual mechanics of
'It's a simple affair,' he said, 'and you'll understand
it at once if you've ever played vingt-et-un, where the
object is to get cards from the banker which add up
more closely to a count of twenty-one than his do. In
this game I get two cards and the banker gets two; and,
unless anyone wins outright, either or both of us can get
one more card. The object of the game is to hold two, or
three cards which together count nine points, Or as
nearly nine as possible. Court cards and tens count
nothing; aces one each; any other card its face value. It
is only the last figure of your count that signifies. So
nine plus seven equals six — not sixteen.
'The winner is the one whose count, is nearest to nine.
Draws are played over again.'
Vesper listened attentively, but she also watched the
look of abstract passion on Bond's face.
'Now,' Bond continued, 'when the banker deals me
my two cards, if they add up to eight or nine, they're a
"natural" and I turn them up and I win, unless he has
an equal or a better natural. If I haven't got a natural, I
can stand on a seven or a six, perhaps ask for a card or
perhaps not, on a five, and certainly ask for a card if my
count is lower than five. Five is the turning point of the
game. According to the odds, the chance of bettering or
worsening your hand if you hold a five are exactly even.
'Only when I ask for a card or tap mine to signify that
I stand on what I have, can the banker look at his. If he
has a natural, he turns them up and wins. Otherwise he
is faced with the same problems as I was. But he is
helped in his decision to draw or not to draw a card by
my actions. If I have stood he must assume that I have a
five, six, or seven: if I have drawn, he will know that I
had something less than a six and I may have improved
THE GAME IS BACCARAT
my hand or not with the card he gave me. And this card
was dealt to me face up. On its face value and a
knowledge of the odds, he will know whether to take
another card or to stand on his own.
'So he has a very slight advantage over me. He has a
tiny help over his decision to draw or to stand. But there
is always one problem card at this game: Shall one draw
or stand on a five, and what will your opponent do with
a five? Some players always draw or always stand,. I
follow my intuition. '...',■!'
'But in the end' — Bond stubbed out his cigarette and
called for the bill — 'it's the natural eights and nines that
matter, and I must just see that I get more of them than
The High Table
While telling the story of the game and an-
ticipating the coming fight, Bond's face had lit up
again. The prospect of at last getting to grips with
Le Chiffre stimulated him and quickened his pulse. He
seemed to have completely forgotten the brief coolness
between them, and Vesper was relieved and entered into
He paid the bill and gave a handsome tip to the som-
melier. Vesper rose and led the way out of the restaurant
and out on to the steps of the hotel.
The big Bentley was waiting and Bond drove Vesper
over, parking as close to the entrance as he could. As
they walked through the ornate anterooms, he hardly
spoke. She looked at him and saw that his nostrils were ,
slightly flared. In other respects he seemed completely at
ease, acknowledging cheerfully the greetings of the
Casino functionaries. At the door to the salle privee
they were not asked for their membership cards. Bond's
high gambling had already made him a favoured client,
THE HIGH TABLE
and any companion of his shared in the glory.
Before they had penetrated very far into the main
room, Felix Leiter detached himself from one of the
roulette tables and greeted Bond as an old friend., After
being introduced to Vesper Lynd and exchanging a few
remarks, Leiter said: 'Well, since you're playing bac-
carat this evening, will you allow me to show Miss Lynd
how to break the bank at roulette? I've got three lucky
numbers that are bound to show soon, and I expect Miss
Lynd has some too. Then perhaps we could come and
watch you when your game starts to warm up. '
Bond looked inquiringly at Vesper.
'I should love that,' she said. 'But will you give me
one of your lucky numbers to play on? '
'I have no lucky numbers,' said Bond unsmilingly. 'I
only bet on even chances, or as near them as I can get.
Well, I shall leave you then.' He excused himself. 'You
will be in excellent hands with .my friend Felix Leiter. '
He gave a short smile which' embraced them both and
walked with an unhurried gait towards the caisse.
Leiter sensed the rebuff,
'He's a very serious gambler, Miss Lynd,' he said.
'And I guess he has to be. Now come with me and watch
Number 17 obey my extrasensory perceptions. You'll
find it quite a painless sensation being given plenty of
money for nothing. '
Bond was relieved to be on his own again and tq be
able to clear his mind of everything but the task on
hand. He stood at the caisse and took his twenty-four
million francs against the receipt which had been given
him that afternoon. He divided the notes into equal ,
packets and put half the sum into his right-hand coat
pocket and the other half into the left. Then he strolled
slowly across the room between the thronged tables
until he came to the top of the room where the broad
baccarat table waited behind the brass rail.
The table was filling up, and the cards were spread
face down, being stirred and mixed slowly in what is
known as the 'croupiers' shuffle' — supposedly the
shuffle which is most effective and least susceptible to
The chef de partie lifted the velvet-covered chain
which allowed entrance through the brass rail.
'I've kept Number 6 as you wished, Monsieur Bond.'
There were still three other empty places at the table.
Bond moved inside the rail to which a huissier was
holding out his chair. He sat down with a nod to the
players on his right and left. He took out his wide gun-
metal cigarette case and his black lighter and placed
them on the green baize at his right elbow. The huissier
wiped a thick glass ashtray with a cloth and put it beside
them. Bond lit a cigarette and leant back in his chair.
Opposite him, the banker's chair was vacant. He
glanced round the table. He knew most of the players by
sight, but, few of their names. At Number 7, on his
right, there was a Monsieur Sixte, a wealthy Belgian
with metal interests in the Congo. At Number 9 there
was Lord Danvers, a distinguished but weak-looking
man whose francs were presumably provided by his rich
American wife, a middle-aged woman with the
predatory mouth of a barracuda, who sat at Number 3 .
Bond reflected that they would probably play a pawky
and nervous game and be amongst the early casualties.
At Number 1 , to the right of the bank, was a well-
known Greek gambler who owned, as in Bond's ex-
perience apparently everyone does in the eastern
Mediterranean, a profitable shipping line. He would
play coldly and well and would be a stayer.
Bond asked the huissier for a card and wrote on it,
under a neat question mark, the remaining numbers, 2,
4, 5, 8, 10, and asked the huissier to give it to the chef de
Soon it came back with the names filled in.
Number 2, still empty, was to be Carmel Delane, the
American film star with alimony from three husbands
THE HIGH TABLE 67
to burn and, Bond assumed, a call on still more from
whoever her present companion at Royale might be.
With her sanguine temperament she would play gaily
and with panache and might run into a vein of luck.
Then came Lady Danvers at Number 3 and Numbers
4 and 5 were a Mr. and Mrs. Du Pont, rich-looking,
who might or might not have some of the real Du Pont
money behind them. Bond guessed they would be
stayers. They both had a businesslike look about them
and were talking together easily and cheerfully as if they
felt very much at home at the big game. Bond was quite
happy to have them next to him— Mrs. Du 1 Pont sat at
Number 5— and he felt prepared to share with them or
with Monsieur Sixte on his right, if they found them-
selves faced with too big a bank.
At Number 8 was the Maharajah of a small Indian
state, probably with all his wartime sterling balances to
play with. Bond's experience told him that few of the
Asiatic races were courageous gamblers, even the much-
vaunted Chinese being inclined to lose heart if the going
was bad. But the Maharajah would probably stay late in
the game and stand some heavy losses if they were
Number 10 was a prosperous-looking young Italian,
Signor Tomelli, who possibly had plenty of money from
rack-rents in Milan and would probably play a dashing
and foolish game. He might lose his temper and make a
Bond had just finished his sketchy summing-up of the
players when Le Chiffre, with the silence and economy
of movement of a big fish, came through the opening in
the brass rail and, with a cold smile of welcome for the
table, took his place directly opposite Bond in the
With the same economy of movement, he cut the
thick slab of cards, which the croupier had placed on the
table squarely between his blunt relaxed hands. Then, as
the croupier fitted the six packs with one swift motion
into the metal and wooden shoe, Le Chiffre said
something quietly to him.
'Messieurs, mesdames, les jeux sont faits, Un banco
de cinq cent mille.' And, as the Greek at Number 1
tapped the table in front of his fat pile of hundred-mille
plaques: 'Le banco est fait.'
Le Chiffre crouched over the shoe. He gave it a short
deliberate slap to settle the cards, the first of which
showed its semicircular pale pink tongue through the
slanting aluminum mouth of the shoe. Then, with a
thick white forefinger he pressed gently on the pink
tongue and slipped out the first card six inches or a foot
towards the Greek on his right hand. Then he slipped
out a card for himself, then another for the Greek, then
one more for himself.
He sat immobile, not touching his own cards.
He looked at the Greek's face.
With his flat wooden spatula, like a long bricklayer's
trowel, the croupier delicately lifted up the Greek's two
cards and dropped them with a quick movement an
extra few inches to the right so that they lay just before
the Greek's pale hairy hands, which lay inert like two
watchful pink crabs on the table.
The two pink crabs scuttled out together and the
Greek gathered the cards into his wide left hand and
cautiously bent his head so that he could see, in the
shadow made by his cupped hand, the value of the
bottom of the two cards. Then he slowly inserted the
forefinger of his right hand and slipped the bottom card
slightly sideways so that the value of the top card was
also just perceptible.
His face was quite impassive. He flattened out his left
hand on the table and then withdrew it, leaving the two
pink cards face down before him, their secret
Then he lifted his head and looked Le Chiffre in the
THE HIGH TABLE
'Non,' said the Greek flatly.
From the decision to stand on his two cards and not
to ask for another, it was clear that the Greek had a five,
or a six, or a seven. To be certain Of winning, the bank
had to reveal an eight or a nine. If the banker failed to
show either figure, he also had the right to take another
card which might or might not improve his count.
Le Chiffre's hands were clasped in front of him, his
two cards three or four inches away. With his right hand
he picked up the two cards and turned them face up-
wards on the table with a faint snap.
They were a four and a five, an uhdef eatable natural
He had won.
'Neuf a la banque,' quietly said the croupier. With his
spatula he faced the Greek's two cards, 'Et le sept,' he
said unemotionally, lifting up gently the corpses of the
seven and queen and slipping them through the wide slot
in the table near his chair which leads into the big metal
canister to which all dead cards are consigned. Le
Chiffre's two cards followed them with the faint rattle
which comes from the canister at the beginning of each
session before the discards have made a cushion over the
metal floor of their oubliette.
The Greek pushed forward five plaques of one
hundred thousand, and the coupier added these to
Le Chiffre's half-million plaque which lay in the centre
of the table. From each bet the Casino takes a tiny per-
centage, the cagnotte; but it is usual at a big game for
the banker to subscribe this himself either in a pre-
arranged lump sum or by contributions at the end of
each hand, so that the amount of the bank's stake can
always be a round figure. Le Chiffre had chosen the
The croupier slipped some counters through the slot
in the table which receives the cagnotte and announced
'Un banco d'un million.'
'Suivi,' murmured the Greek, meaning that he exer-
cised his right to follow up his lost bet.
Bond lit a cigarette and settled himself in his chair.
The long game was launched, and the sequence of these
gestures and the reiteration of this subdued litany would
continue until the end came and the players dispersed.
Then the enigmatic cards would be burnt or defaced, a
shroud would be draped over the table, and the grass-
green baize battlefield would soak up the blood of its
victims and refresh itself.
The Greek, after taking a third card, could achieve no
better than a four to the bank's seven.
'Un banco dedeux millions,' said the coupier.
The players on Bond's left remained silent.
'Banco,' said Bond.
Moment of Truth
Le Chiffre looked incuriously at him, the whites
of his eyes, which showed all round the irises, lending
something impassive and doll-like to his gaze.
He slowly removed one thick hand from the table and
slipped it into the pocket of his dinner-jacket. The hand
came out holding a small metal cylinder with a cap
which Le Chiffre unscrewed. He inserted the nozzle of
the cylinder, with an obscene deliberation, twice into
each black nostril in turn, and luxuriously inhaled the
Unhurriedly he pocketed the inhaler; then his hand
came quickly back, above the level of . the table and gave
the shoe its usual hard, sharp slap.
During this offensive pantomime Bond had coldly
held the banker's gaze, taking in the wide expanse of
white face surmounted by the short abrupt cliff of red-
dish brown hair, the unsmiling wet red mouth, and the
impressive width of the shoulders, loosely draped in a
massively cut dinner-jacket.
But for the high-lights on the satin of the shawl-cut
lapels, he might have been faced by the thick bust of a
black-fleeced Minotaur rising out of a green grass field.
Bond slipped a packet of notes on to the table without
counting them. If he lost, the croupier would extract
what was necessary to cover the bet; but the easy gesture
conveyed that Bond didn't expect to lose, and that this
was only a token display from the deep funds at Bond's
The other players sensed a tension between the two
gamblers, and there was a silence as Le Chiffre fingered
the four cards out of the shoe.
The croupier slipped Bond's two cards across to him
with the tip of his spatula. Bond, still with his eyes
holding Le Chiffre's, reached his right hand out a few
inches, glanced down very swiftly, then as he looked up
again impassively at Le Chiffre, with a disdainful
gesture he tossed the cards face upwards on the table.
They were a four and a five-^an unbeatable nine.
There was a little gasp of envy from the table, and the
players to the left of Bond exchanged rueful glances at
their failure to accept the two-million-franc bet.
With the hint of a shrug, Le Chiffre slowly faced his
own two cards and flicked them away with his finger-
nail. They were two valueless knaves.
'Le baccarat,' intoned the croupier as he spaded the
thick chips over the table to Bond .
Bond slipped them into his right-hand pocket with the
unused packet of notes. His face showed no emotion,
but he was pleased with the success of his first coup and
with the outcome of the silent clash of wills across the :
The woman on his left, the American Mrs. Du Pont,
turned to him with a wry smile.
'I shouldn't have let it come to you,' she said. 'Di-
rectly the cards were dealt I kicked myself. '
'It's only the beginning of the game/ said Bond. 'You
may be right the next time you pass it. '
Mr. Du Pont leant forward from the other side of his
wife: 'If one could be right every hand, none of us
would be here, ' he said philosophically.
'I would be,' his wife laughed. 'You don't think I do
this for pleasure.'
As the game went on, Bond looked over the spec-
tators leaning on the high brass rail round the table. He
soon saw Le Chiffre's two gunmen. They stood behind
and to either side of the banker. They looked respect-
able enough, but not sufficiently a part of the game to
be unobtrusive, 1
The one more or less behind Le Chiffre's right arm
was tall and funereal in his dinner-jacket. His face was
wooden and grey, but his eyes flickered and gleamed
like a conjurer's. His whole long body was restless, and
his hands shifted often on the brass rail. Bond guessed
that he would kill without interest or concern for what
he killed, and that he would prefer strangling. He had
something of Lennie in Of Mice and Men, but his
inhumanity would not come from infantilism but from
drugs. Marihuana, decided Bond.
The other man looked like a Corsican shopkeeper. He
was short and very dark with a flat head covered with
thickly greased hair. He seemed to be a cripple. A
chunky Malacca cane with a rubber tip hung on a rail
beside him. He must have had permission to bring the
cane into the Casino with him, reflected Bond, who
knew that neither sticks nor any other objects were
allowed in the rooms as a precaution against acts of
violence. He looked sleek and well fed. His mouth hung
vacantly half open and revealed very bad teeth. He wore
a heavy black moustache, and the backs of his hands on
the rail were matted with black hair. Bond guessed that
hair covered most of his squat body. Naked, Bond sup-
posed, he would be an obscene object.
The game continued uneventfully, but with a slight
bias against the bank.
The third coup is the 'sound barrier' at chemin-de-fer
and baccarat. Your luck can defeat the first and second
tests, but when the third deal comes along it most often
spells disaster. Again and again at this point you find
yourself being bounced back to earth. It was like that
now. Neither the bank nor any of the players seemed to
be able to get hot. But there was a steady and inexorable
seepage against the bank, amounting after about two
hours' play to ten million francs. Bond had no idea
what profits Le Chiffre had made over the past two
days. He estimated them at five million and guessed that
now the banker's capital could not be more than twenty
In fact, Le Chiffre had lost heavily all that afternoon.
At this moment he only had ten million left.
Bond, on the other hand, by one o'clock in the morn-
ing, had; won four million, bringing his resources up to
Bond was cautiously pleased. Le Chiffre showed no
trace of emotion. He continued to play like an
automaton, never speaking except when he gave in-
structions in a low aside to the croupier at the opening
of each new bank.
Outside the pool of silence round the high table, there
was the constant hum of the other tables, chemin-de- -
fer, roulette, and trente-et-quarante, interspersed with
the clear calls of the croupiers and occasional bursts of
laughter or gasps of excitement from different corners
of the huge salle.
In the background there thudded always the hidden
metronome of the Casino, ticking up its little treasure of
one-per-cents with each spin of a wheel and each turn of
a card — a pulsing fat-cat with a zero for a heart.
It was at ten minutes past one by Bond's watch that,
MOMENT OF TRUTH
at the high table, the" whole pattern of play suddenly
The Greek at Number 1 was still having a bad time.
He had lost the first coup of half a million francs and
the second. He passed the third time, leaving a bank of
two millions. Carmel Delane at Number 2 refused it. So
did Lady Danvers at Number 3.
The Du Ponts looked at each other.
'Banco,' said Mrs. Du Pont, and promptly lost to the
banker's natural eight.
'Un banco de quatre millions, ' said the croupier.
'Banco,' said Bond, pushing out a wad of notes.
Again he fixed Le Chiffre with his eye. Again he gave
only a cursory look at his two cards .
'No,' he said. He held a marginal five. The position
Le Chiffre turned up a knave and a four. He gave the
shoe another slap. He drew a three.
'Sept a la banque,' said the croupier, 'et cinq,' he
added as he tipped Bond's losing cards face upwards.
He raked over Bond's money, extracted four million
francs and returned the remainder to Bond.
'Un banco de huit millions.'
'Suivi,' said Bond.
And lost again, to a natural nine.
In two coups he had lost twelve million francs. By
scrapping the barrel, he had just sixteen million francs
left,' exactly the amount of the next banco.
Suddenly Bond felt the sweat on his palms. Like snow
in sunshine his capital had melted. With the covetous
deliberation of the winning gambler, Le Chiffre was
tapping a light tattoo on the table with his right hand.
Bond looked across into the eyes of murky basalt. They
held an ironical question. 'Do you want the full treat-
ment?' they seemed to ask.
'Suivi,' Bond said softly.
He took some notes and plaques out of his right-hand
pocket and the entire stack of notes out of his left and
pushed them forward. There was no hint in his
movements that this would be his last stake.
His mouth felt suddenly as dry as flock wall-paper.
He looked up and saw Vesper and Felix Leiter standing
where the gunman with the stick had stood. He did not
know how long they had been standing there. Leiter
looked faintly worried, but Vesper smiled en- '
couragement at him..
He heard a faint rattle on the rail behind him and
turned his head. The battery of bad teeth under the
black moustache gaped vacantly back at him.
'Le jeu est fait,' said the croupier, and the two cards
came slithering towards him over the green baize — a
green baize which was no longer smooth, but thick now,
and furry and almost choking^ its colour as livid as the
grass on a fresh tomb.
The light from the broad satin-lined shades which had
seemed so welcoming now seemed to take the colour out
of his hand as he glanced at the cards. Then he looked
It was nearly as bad as it could have been — the king of
hearts and an ace, the ace of spades. It squinted up at
him like a black widow spider.
'A card.' He still kept all emotion out of his voice.
Le Chiffre faced his own two cards. He had a queen
and a black five. He looked at Bond and pressed out
another card with a wide forefinger. The table was ab-
solutely silent. He faced it and flicked it away. The
croupier lifted it delicately with his spatula and slipped
it over to Bond. It was a good card, the five of hearts,
but to Bond it was a difficult fingerprint in dried blood.
He now had a count of six and Le Chiffre a count of
five, but the banker having a five and giving a five,
would and must draw another card and try and improve
with a one, two, three, or four. Drawing any other card
he would be defeated.
The odds were on Bond's side, but now it was Le
Chiffre who looked across into Bond's eyes and hardly
glanced at the card as he flicked it face upwards on the
It was, unnecessarily, the best, a four, giving the bank
a count of nine. He had won, almost slowing up.
Bond was beaten and cleaned out.
The Deadly Tube
Bond sat silent, frozen with defeat. He opened
his wide black case and took out a cigarette. He snapped
open the tiny jaws of the Ronson and lit the cigarette
and put the lighter back on the table. He took a deep
lungful of smoke and expelled it between his teeth with a
What now? Back to the hotel and bed, avoiding the
commiserating eyes of Mathis and Leiter and Vesper:
Back to the telephone call to London, and then
tomorrow the plane home, the taxi up to Regent's Park,
the walk up the .stairs and along the corridor, and M.'s
cold face across the table, his forced sympathy, his
'Better luck next time'; and, of course, there couldn't be
one, not another.chance like this.
He looked round the table and up at the spectators.
Few were looking at him. They were waiting while the
croupier counted the money and piled up the chips in a
neat stack in front of the banker, waiting to see if
anyone would conceivably challenge this huge bank of
THE DEADLY TUBE
thirty-two million francs, this wonderful run of
Leiter had vanished, not wishing to look Bond in the
eye after the knock-out, he supposed. Yet Vesper
looked curiously unmoved, she gave him a smile of en-
couragement. But then, Bond reflected, she knew
nothing of the game. Had no notion, probably, of the
bitterness of his defeat.
The huissier was coming towards Bond inside the rail.
He stopped beside him. Bent over him. Placed a squat
envelope beside Bond on the table. It was as thick as a
dictionary. Said something about the caisse. Moved
Bond's heart thumped. He took the heavy
anonymous envelope below the level of the table and slit
it open with his thumbnail, noticing that the gum was
still wet on the flap.
Unbelieving and yet knowing it was true, he felt the
broad wads of notes. He slipped them into his pockets,
retaining the half-sheet of notepaper which was pinned
to the topmost of them. He glanced at it in the shadow
below the table. There was one line of writing in ink:
'Marshall Aid. Thirty-two million francs. With the
compliments of the U.S.A.'
Bond swallowed. He looked over towards Vesper.
Felix Leiter was again standing beside her. He grinned
slightly, and Bond smiled back and raised his hand from
the table in a small gesture of benediction. Then he set
his mind to sweeping away all traces of the sense of
complete defeat which had swamped him a few minutes
before. This was a reprieve, but only a reprieve. There
could be no more miracles. This time he had to win— if
Le Chif fre had not already made his fifty million — if he
was going to go on!
The croupier had completed his task of computing the
cagnotte, changing Bond's notes into plaques, and
making a pile of the giant stake in the middle of the
There lay thirty-two thousand pounds. Perhaps,
thought Bond, Le Chiffre needed just one more coup,
even a minor one of a few million francs, to achieve his
object. Then he would have made his fifty million
francs and would leave the table. By tomorrow his
deficits would be covered and his position secure.
. He showed no signs of moving, and Bond guessed
with relief that somehow he must have overestimated Le
Chiffre' s resources.
Then the only hope, thought Bond, was to stamp on
him how. Not to share the bank with the table, or to
take some minor r part of it, but to go the whole hog.
This would really jolt Le Chiffre. He would hate to see
more than ten or fifteen million of the stake covered,
and he could not possibly expect anyone to banco the
entire thirty-two millions. He might not know that Bond
had been cleaned out, but he must imagine that Bond
had by now only small reserves. He could not know of
the contents of the envelope. If he did, he would
probably withdraw the bank and start all over again on
the wearisome journey up from the five hundred franc
The analysis was right. !
Le Chiffre needed another eight million.
At last he nodded.
'Un banco de trente-deux millions.'
The croupier's voice rang out. A silence built itself up
round the table.
. 'Un banco de trente-deux millions. ' /
In a louder, prouder voice the chef de partie took up
the cry, hoping to draw big money away from the neigh-
bouring chemin-de-fer tables. Besides, this was won-
derful publicity. The stake had only once been reached
in the history of baccarat — at Deauville in 1950. The,
rival Casino de la ForSt at Le Touquet had never got
It was then that Bond leant slightly forward.
'Suivi,' he said quietly.
There was an excited buzz round the table. The word
ran through the Casino. People crowded in. Thirty-two
million! For most of them it was more than they had
earned all their lives. It was their savings and the savings
of their families. It was, literally, a small fortune.
One of the Casino directors consulted with the chef de
partie. The chef de partie turned apologetically to Bond.
'Excusezmoi, monsieur. La mise?'
,. It was an indication that Bond really must show he
had the money to coyer the bet. They knew, of course,
that he was a very wealthy man, but after all, thirty-two
millions! And it sometimes happened that desperate
people would bet without a sou in the world and cheer-
fully go to prison if they lost.
'Mes excuses, Monsieur Bond,' added the chef de
It was when Bond shovelled the great wad of notes
out on to the table and the croupier busied himself with
the task of counting the pinned sheaves of ten thousand
franc notes, the largest denomination issued in France,
that he caught a swift exchange of glances between Le
Chiffre and the gunman standing directly behind Bond.
Immediately he felt something hard press into the
base of his spine, right into the cleft between his two
buttocks on the padded chair.
At the same time a thick voice speaking southern
French said softly, urgently, just behind his right ear:
'This is a gun, monsieur. It is absolutely silent. It can
blow the base of your spine off without a sound. You
will appear to have fainted. I shall be gone. Withdraw
your bet before I count ten. If you call for help I shall
The voice Was confident. Bond believed it. These
people had shown they would unhesitatingly go the
limit. The thick walking stick was explained. Bond knew
the type of gun. The barrel a series of soft rubber baffles
which absorbed the detonation, but allowed the passage
of the bullet. They had been invented and used in the
war for assassinations. Bond had tested them himself.
'Un,' said the voice.
Bond turned his head. There was the man, leaning
forward close behind him, smiling broadly under his
black moustache as if he were wishing Bond luck, com-
pletely secure in the noise and the crowd.
The discoloured teeth came together. 'Deux,' said the
Bond looked across. Le Chiffre was watching him.
His eyes glittered back at Bond. His mouth was open,
and he was breathing fast. He was waiting, waiting for
Bond's hand to gesture to the croupier, or else for Bond
suddenly to slump backwards in his chair, his face
grimacing with a scream.
Bond looked over at Vesper and Felix Leiter. They
were smiling and talking to each other. The fools.
Where was Mathis? Where were those famous men of
And the other spectators. This crowd of jabbering
idiots. Couldn't someone see what was happening? The
chef de partie, the croupier, the huissier?
The croupier was tidying up the pile of notes. The
chef de partie bowed smilingly towards Bond. Directly
the stake was in order he would announce, 'Le jeux est
fait,' and the gun would fire whether the gunman had
reached ten or not.
Bond decided. It was a chance. He carefully moved
his hands to the edge of the table, gripped it, edged his
buttocks right back, feeling the sharp gun-sight grind
into his coccyx.
The chef de partie turned to Le Chiffre with his
eyebrows lifted, waiting for the banker's nod that he
was ready to play.
Suddenly Bond heaved backwards with all his
strength. His momentum tipped the crossbar of the
chair-back down so quickly that it cracked across the
Malacca tube and wrenched it from the gunman's hand
before he could pull the trigger.
Bond went head-over-heels on to the ground amongst
the spectators' feet, his legs in the air. The back of the
chair splintered with the sharp crack. There were cries
of dismay. The spectators cringed away and then,
reassured, clustered back. Hands helped him to his feet
and brushed him down. The huissier bustled up with the
chef de partie. At all costs a scandal must be avoided.
Bond held on to the brass rail. He looked confused
and embarrassed. He brushed his hand across his
forehead. 'A momentary faintness,' he said. 'It is
nothing — the excitement, the heat. '
There were expressions of sympathy. Naturally, with
this tremendous game. Would Monsieur prefer to with-
draw, to lie down, to go home? Should a doctor be
Bond shook his head. He was perfectly all right now.
His excuses to the table. To the banker also.
A new chair was brought and he sat down. He looked
across at Le Chiffre. Through his relief at being alive,
he felt a moment of triumph at what he saw— some fear
in the fat, pale face.
There was a buzz of speculation round the table.
Bond's neighbours on both sides of him bent forward
and spokefsolicitously about the heat and the lateness of
the hour and the smoke and the lack of ain *
V Bond replied politely. He turned to examine the
crowd behind him. There was no trace of the gunman,
but the huissier was looking for someone to claim the
Malacca stick. It seemed undamaged. But it no longer
carried a rubber tip. Bond beckoned to him.
'If you will give it to that gentleman over there' — he
indicated Felix Leiter— 'he will return it. It belongs to
an acquaintance of his.'
The huissier bowed.
Bond grimly reflected that a short examination would
reveal to Leiter why he had made such an embarrassing
public display of himself.
He turned back to the table and tapped the green
cloth in front of him to show that he was ready.
'A Whisper of Love,
A Whisper of Hate'
'La Partie continue,' announced the chef im-
pressively, 'tin banco de trente-deux millions. ' '
The spectators craned forward. Le Chiffre hit the
shoe with a flat-handed slap that made it rattle. As an
afterthought he took out his benzedrine inhaler and
sucked the vapour up his nose. '■<•"■•
'Filthy brute,' said Mrs. Du Pont on Bond's left.
Bond's mind was clear again. By a miracle he had sur-
vived a devastating wound. He could feel his armpits
still wet with the fear of it. But the success of his gambit
with the chair had wiped out all memories of the dread-
ful valley of defeat through which he had just passed.
He had made a fool of himself. The game had been
interrupted for at least ten minutes, a delay unheard of •
in a respectable casino, but now cards were waiting for
him in the shoe. They must not fail him. He felt his
heart lift at the prospect of what was to come,
It was two o'clock in the morning. Apart from the
thick crowd round the big game, play was still going on
at three of the chemin-de-fer games and at the same
number of roulette tables.
In the silence round his own table, Bond suddenly
heard a distant croupier intone: 'Neuf . Le rouge gagne,
impair et manque.'
Was this an omen for him or for Le Chiffre?
The two cards slithered towards him across the green
Like an octopus under a rock, Le Chiffre watched
him from the other side of the table.
Bond reached out a steady right hand and drew the
cards towards him. Would it be the lift of the heart
which a nine brings, or an eight brings?
He fanned the two cards under the curtain of his
hand. The. muscles of his jaw rippled as he clenched his
teeth. His whole body stiffened in a reflex of self-
He had two queens, two red queens.
They looked rougishly back at him from the shadows.
They were the worst. They were nothing. Zero. Bac-
'A card, ' said Bond, fighting to keep hopelessness out
of his voice. He felt Le Chiffre' s eyes boring into his
The banker slowly turned his own two cards face up.
He had a count of three — a king and a black three.
Bond softly exhaled a cloud of tobacco smoke. He
still had a chance. Now he was really faced with the
moment of truth. Le Chiffre slapped the shoe, slipped
out a card, Bond's card, Bond's fate, and slowly turned
it face up.
It was a nine, a wonderful nine of hearts — the card
known in gipsy magic as 'a whisper of love, a whisper of
hate,' the card that meant almost certain victory for
The croupier slipped it delicately across. To
Le Chiffre it meant nothing. Bond might have had a
one, in which case he now had ten points, or nothing, or
'A WHISPER OF LOVE, A WHISPER OF HATE' 87
baccarat, as it is called. Or he might have had a two,
three, four, or even five. In which case, with nine, his
maximum count would be four.
Holding a three and giving a nine is one of the moot
situations at the game. The odds are so nearly divided
between to draw or not to draw. Bond let the banker
sweat it out. Since his nine could only be equalled by the
banker drawing a six, he would normally have shown
his count if it had been a friendly game.
Bond's cards lay on the table before him, the two im-
personal pale pink-patterned backs and the faced nine
of hearts. To Le Chiffre the nine might be telling the >
truth or many variations of lies.
The whole secret lay in the reverse of the two pink
backs where the pair of queens kissed the green cloth.
The sweat was running down either side of the
banker's beaky nose. His thick tongue came out slyly
and licked a drop out of the corner of his red gash of a
mouth. He looked at Bond's cards, and then at his own,
and then back at Bond's.
Then his whole body shrugged and he slipped out a
card for himself from the lisping shoe.
He faced it. The table craned. It was a wonderful
card, a five.
'Huit a la banque,' said the croupier. >
As Bond sat silent, Le Chiffre suddenly grinned
wolfishly. He must have won. i
The croupier's spatula reached almost apologetically
across the table. There was not a man at the table who
did not believe Bond was defeated.
The spatula flicked the two pink cards over on their
backs. The gay red queens smiled up at the lights.
A great gasp went up round the table, and then a hub-
bub of talk.
Bond's eyes were on Le Chiffre. The big man fell
back in his chair as if slugged above the heart. His
mouth opened and shut once or twice in protest, and
his right hand felt at his throat. Then he rocked back.
His lips were grey.
As the huge stack of plaques was shunted across the
table to Bond the banker reached into an inner pocket
of his jacket and threw a wad of notes on to the table.
The croupier riffled through them.
'Un banco de dix millions,' he announced. He
slapped down their equivalent in ten plaques of a
This is the kill, thought Bond. This man has reached
the point of no return. This is the last of his capital. He
has come to where I stood an hour ago, and he is
making the last gesture that I made. But if this man
loses there is no one to come to his aid, no miracle to
Bond sat back arid lit a cigarette. On a small table
beside him half a bottle of Clicquot and a glass had
materialized. Without asking who the benefactor was,
Bond filled the glass to the brim and drank it down in
two long draughts.
Then he leant back with his arms curled forward on
the table in front of him like the arms of a wrestler
seeking a hold at the opening of a bout of ju-jitsu.
The players on his left remained silent.
'Banco,' he said, speaking straight at Le Chiffre.
Once more the two cards were borne over to him, and
this time the croupier slipped them into the green lagoon
between the outstretched arms.
Bond curled his right hand in, glanced briefly down
and flipped the cards face up into the middle of the
' Le neuf , ' said the croupier.
Le Chiffre was gazing down at his own two black
'Et le baccarat,' and the croupier eased across the
table the fat tide of plaques.
Le Chiffre watched them go to join the serried
millions in the shadow of Bond's left arm; then he stood
'A WHISPER OF LOVE, A WHISPER OF HATE'
up slowly, and without a word he brushed past the
players to the break in the rail. He unhooked the velvet-
covered chain and let it fall. The spectators opened a
way for him. They looked at him curiously and rather
fearfully as if he carried the smell of death on him. Then
he vanished from Bond's sight.
Bond stood up. He took a hundred-mille plaque from
the stacks beside him and slipped it across the table to
the chef de partie. He cut short the effusive thanks and
asked the croupier to have his winnings carried to the
caisse. The other players were leaving their seats. With
no banker, there could be no game, and by now it was
half-past two. He exchanged some pleasant words with
his neighbours to right and left and then ducked under
the rail to where Vesper and Felix Leiter were waiting
Together they walked over to the caisse. Bond was
invited to come into the private office of the Casino
directors. On the desk lay his huge pile of chips. He
added the contents of his pockets to it.
In all there was over seventy million francs.
Bond took Felix Leiter's money in notes and took a
cheque to cash on the Credit Lyonnais for the remaining
forty-odd million. He was congratulated warmly on his
winnings. The directors hoped that he would be playing
again that evening.
Bond gave an evasive reply. He walked over to the bar
and handed Leiter's money to him. For a few minutes
they discussed the game over a bottle of champagne.
Leiter took a .45 bullet out of his pocket and placed it
on the table.
'I gave the gun to Mathis,' he said. 'He's taken it
away. He Was as puzzled as we were by the spill you
took. He was standing at the back of the crowd with one
of his men when it happened. The gunman got away
without difficulty. You can imagine how they kicked
themselves when they saw the gun. Mathis gave me this
bullet to show you what you escaped. The nose had been
cut with a dum-dum cross. You'd have been in a terrible
mess. But they can't tie it on to Le Chiffre. The man
came in alone. They've got the form he filled up to get
his entrance card. Of course, it'll all be phony. He got
permission to bring the stick in with him. He had a cer-
tificate for a war-wound pension. These people certainly
get themselves well organized. They've got his prints
and they're on the Belinograph to Paris, so we may hear
more about him in the morning.' Felix Leiter tapped out
another cigarette. 'Anyway, all's well that ends well.
You certainly took Le Chiffre for a ride at the end,
though we had some bad moments. I expect you did
Bond smiled. 'That envelope was the most wonderful
thing that ever happened to me. I thought I was really
finished. It wasn't at all a pleasant feeling. Talk about a
friend in need. One day I'll try and return the com-
He rose. 'I'll just go over to the hotel and put this
away,' he said, tapping his pocket. 'I don't like wan-
dering around with Le Chiffre' s death warrant on me.
He might get ideas. Then I'd like to celebrate a bit.
What do you think?'
He turned to Vesper. She had hardly said a word since
the end of the game.
'Shall we have a glass of champagne in the night club
before we go to bed? It's called the Roi Galant. You get
to it through the public rooms. It looks quite cheerful. '
T think I'd love to,' said Vesper. 'I'll tidy up while
you put your winnings away. I'll meet you in the en-
'What about you, Felix?' Bond hoped he could be
alone with Vesper.
Leiter looked at him and read his mind.
'I'd rather take a little rest before breakfast,' he said.
'It's been quite a day, and I expect Paris will want me to
do a bit of mopping-up tomorrow. There are several
loose ends you won't have to worry about. I shall. I'll
'A WHISPER OF LOVE, A WHISPER OF HATE' 91
walk over to the hotel with you. Might as well convoy
the treasure ship right into port.'
They strolled over through the shadows cast hy the
full moon. Both had their hands on their guns. It was
three o'clock in the morning, but there were several
people about and the courtyard of the Casino was still
lined with motorcars.
The short walk was uneventful.
At the hotel, Leiter insisted on accompanying Bond
to his room. It was as Bond had left it six hours before.
'No reception committee,' observed Leiter, 'but I
wouldn't put it past them to try a last throw. Do you
think I ought to stay up and keep you two company? '
'You get your sleep,' said Bond. 'Don't worry about
us. They won't be interested in me without the money
and I've got an idea for looking after that. Thanks for
all you've done. I hope we get on a job again one day. '
'Suits me,' said Leiter, 'so long as you can draw a
nine when it's needed — and bring Vesper along with
you, ' he added dryly. He went out and closed the door.
Bond turned back to the friendliness of his room.
After the crowded arena of the big table and the ner-
vous strain of the three hours' play, he was glad to be
alone for a moment and to be welcomed by his pyjamas
on the bed and his hairbrushes on the dressing-table. He
went into the bathroom and dashed cold water over his
face and gargled with a sharp mouthwash. He felt the
bruises on the back of his head and on his right
shoulder. He reflected cheerfully how narrowly he had
twice that day escaped being murdered. Would he have
to sit up all that night and wait for them to come again,
or was Le Chiffre even now on his way to Le Havre or
Bordeaux to pick up a boat for some corner of the world
where he could escape the eyes and guns of SMERSH?
Bond shrugged his shoulders. Sufficient unto that day
had been its evil. He gazed for a moment into the mirror
and wondered about Vesper's morals. He wanted her
cold and arrogant body. He wanted to see tears and
desire in her remote blue eyes and to take the ropes of
her black hair in his hands and bend.her long body back
under his. Bond's eyes narrowed, and his face in the
mirror looked back at him with hunger.
He turned away and took out of his pocket the cheque
for forty million francs. He folded this very small. Then
he opened the door and looked up and down the
corridor. He left the door wide open and with his ears
cocked for footsteps or the sound of the lift, he set to
work with a small screwdriver.
Five minutes later he gave a last-minute survey to his
handiwork, put some fresh cigarettes in his case, closed
and locked the door, and went off down the corridor
and across the hall and out into the moonlight.
'La Vie en Rose?'
The entrance to the Roi Galant was a seven-foot
golden picture-frame which had once, perhaps, enclosed
the vast portrait of a noble European. It was in a
discreet corner of the 'kitchen' — the public roulette and
boule room, where several tables were still busy. As
Bond took Vesper's arm and led her over the gilded
step, he fought back a hankering to borrow some money
from the caisse and plaster maximums over the nearest
table. But he knew that this would be a brash and cheap
gesture 'pour Spater la bourgeoisie. ' Whether he won or
lost, it would be a kick in the teeth to the luck which had
been given him.
The night club was small and dark, lit only by candles
in gilded candelabra whose warm light was repeated in
wall mirrors set in more gold picture-frames. The walls
were covered in dark red satin, and the chairs and
banquettes in matching red plush. In the far corner, a
trio, consisting of a piano, an electric guitar, and
drums, was playing 'La Vie en Rose' with muted sweet-
ness. Seduction dripped on the quietly throbbing air. It
seemed to Bond that every couple must be touching with
passion under the tables.
They were given a corner table near the door. Bond
ordered a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and scrambled eggs
They sat for a time listening to the music, and then
Bond turned to Vesper: 'It's wonderful sitting here with
you and knowing the job's finished. It's a lovely end to
the day — the prize-giving.'
He expected her to smile. She said, 'Yes, isn't it?' in a
rather brittle voice. She seemed to be listening carefully
to the music. One elbow rested on the table, and her
hand supported her chin, but on the back of her hand
and not on the palm; and Bond noticed that her
knuckles showed white as if her fist was tightly
Between the thumb and first two fingers of her right
hand she held one of Bond's cigarettes, as an artist
holds a crayon; and though she smoked with composure
she tapped the cigarette occasionally into an ashtray
when the cigarette had no ash.
Bond noticed these small things because he felt in-
tensely aware of her and because he wanted to draw her
into his own feeling of warmth and relaxed sensuality.
But he accepted her reserve. He thought it came from a
desire to protect herself from him, or else it was her
reaction to his coolness to her earlier in the evening, his
deliberate coolness, which he knew had been taken as a
He was patient. He drank champagne and talked a
little about the happenings of the day and about the per-
sonalities of Mathis and Leiter and about the possible
consequences for Le Chiffre. He was discreet, and he
only talked about the aspects of the case on which she
must have been briefed by London.
She answered perfunctorily'. She said that, of course,
they had picked out the two gunmen, but had thought
'LA VIE EN ROSE?'
nothing of it when the man with the stick had gone to
stand behind Bond's chair. They could not believe that
anything would be attempted in the Casino itself. Di-
rectly Bond and Leiter had left to walk over to the hotel,
she had telephoned Paris and told M.'s representative of
the result of the game. She had had to speak guardedly,
and the agent had rung off without comment. She had
been told to do this whatever the result. M. had asked
for the information to be passed on to him personally at
any time of the day or night.
This was all she said. She sipped at her champagne
and rarely glanced at Bond. She didn't smile. Bond felt
frustrated. He drank a lot of champagne and ordered
another bottle. The scrambled eggs came, and they ate
At four o'clock Bond was about to call for the bill
when the maltre d'hStel appeared at their table and
inquired for Miss Lynd. He handed her a note which she
took and read hastily.
'Oh, it's only Mathis,' she said. 'He says would T
come to the entrance hall. He's got a message for you.
Perhaps he's not in evening clothes or something. I
Won't be a minute. Then perhaps we could go home.'
She gave him a strained smile. 'I'm afraid I don't feel
very good company this evening. It's been rather a
nerve-racking day, I'm so sorry.'
Bond made a perfunctory reply and rose, pushing
back the table. 'I'll get the bill,' he said, and watched
her take the few steps to the entrance.
He sat down and lit a cigarette. He felt flat. He sud-
denly realized that he was tired. The stuffiness of the
room hit him as it had hit him in the Casino in the early
hours of the previous day. He called for the bill and
took a last mouthful of champagne. It tasted bitter, as
the first glass too many always does. He would have
liked to see Mathis' s cheerful face and hear his news,
perhaps even a word of congratulation.
Suddenly the note to Vesper seemed odd to him. It
was not the way Mathis would do things. He would have
asked them both to join him at the bar of the Casino, or
he would have joined them in the night club, whatever
his clothes. They would have laughed together, and
Mathis would have been excited. He had much to tell
Bond, more than Bond had to tell him: the arrest of the
Bulgarian, who had probably talked some more; the
chase after the man with the stick; Le Chiffre's
movements when he left the Casino.
Bond shook himself. He hastily paid the bill, not
waiting for the change. He pushed back his table and
walked quickly through the entrance without
acknowledging the good-nights of the maltre d'hdtel
and the doorman.
He hurried through the gaming-room and looked
carefully up and down the long entrance hall. He cursed
and quickened his step. There were only one or two of-
ficials and two or three men and women in evening
clothes getting their things at the vestiaire.
No Vesper. No Mathis.
He was almost running. He got to the entrance and
looked along the steps to the left and right down and
amongst the few remaining cars.
The commissionaire came towards him.
'A taxi, monsieur?' ;■
Bond waved him aside and started down the steps, his
eyes staring into the shadows, the night air cold on his
He was halfway down when he heard a faint cry, then
the slam of a door away to the right. With a harsh growl
and stutter from the exhaust a beetle-browed Citroen
shot out of the shadows into the light of the moon, its
front- wheel drive dry-skidding through the loose
pebbles of the forecourt.
Its tail rocked on its soft springs as if a violent
struggle was taking place on the back seat.
With a snarl it raced out to the wide entrance gate in a
spray of gravel. A small black- object shot out of an
'LA VIE EN ROSE?'
open rear window and thudded into a flower-bed. There
was a scream of tortured rubber as the tyres caught the
boulevard in a harsh left-handed turn, the deafening
echo of a Citroen' s exhaust in second gear, a crash into
top, then a swiftly diminishing crackle as the car hared
off between the shops on the main street towards the
Bond knew he would find Vesper's evening bag
among the flowers.
He ran back with it across the gravel to the brightly lit
steps and scrabbled through its contents while the com-
missionaire hovered round him.
The crumpled note was there amongst the usual
'Can you come out to the entrance hall for a
moment? I have news for your companion.
Black Hare and Grey Hound
It was the crudest possible forgery.
Bond leapt for the Bentley, blessing the impulse
, which had made him drive it over after dinner. With the
choke full out the engine answered at once to the starter,
and the roar drowned the faltering words of the com-
missionaire who jumped aside as the rear wheels
whipped gravel at his piped trouser-legs.
As the car rocked to the left outside the gate, Bond
ruefully longed for the front-wheel drive and low chassis
of the Citroen. Then he went fast through the gears and
settled himself for the pursuit, briefly savouring the
echo of the huge exhaust as it came back at him from
either side of the short main street through the town.
Soon he was out on the coast-road, a broad highway
through the sand-dunes which he knew from his morn-
ing's drive had an excellent surface and was well cat' s-
eyed on the bends. He pushed the revs up and up,
hurrying the car to eighty then to . ninety, his huge
Marchai headlights boring a safe white tunnel, nearly
BLACK HARE AND GREY HOUND 99
half a mile long, between the walls of the night.
He knew the Citroen must have come this way. He
had heard the exhaust penetrate beyond the town, and a
little dust still hung on the bends. He hoped soon to see
the distant shaft of its headlights. The night was still and
clear. Only out at sea there must be a light summer mist,
for at intervals he could hear the foghorns lowing like
iron cattle down the coast.
As he drove, whipping the car faster and faster
through the night, with the other half of his mind he
cursed Vesper, and M. for having sent her on the job.
This was just what he had been afraid of. These
blithering women who thought they could do a man's
work. Why the hell couldn't they stay at home and mind v
their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip
and leave men's work to the men? And now for this to
happen to him, just when the job had come off so
beautifully: for Vesper to fall for an old trick like that
and get herself snatched and probably held to ransom
like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon. The silly
-Bond boiled at the thought of the fix he was in.
Of course. The idea was a straight swap. The girl
against his cheque for forty million. Well, he wouldn't
play: wouldn't think of playing. She was in the Service
and knew what she was up against. He wouldn't even
ask M. This job was more important than her. It was
just too bad. She was a fine girl, but he wasn't going to
fall for this childish trick. No dice. He would try and
catch the Citroen and shoot it out with them; and if she
got shot in the process that was too bad too. He would
have done his stuff — tried to rescue her before they got
her off to some hide-out — but if he didn't catch up with
them he would get back to his hotel and go to sleep and
say no more about it. The next morning he would ask
Mathis what had happened to her and show him the
note. If Le Chiffre put the touch on Bond for the money
in exchange for the girl, Bond would do nothing and tell
no one. The girl would just have to take it. If the com-
missionaire came along with the story of what he had
seen, Bond would bluff it out by saying he had had a
drunken row with the girl.
Bond's mind raged furiously on with the problem as
he flung the great car down the coast-road,
automatically taking the curves and watching out for
carts or cyclists on their way to Royale. On straight
stretches the Amherst Villiers supercharger dug spurs
into the Bentley's twenty-five horses, and the engine
sent a high-pitched scream of pain into the night. Then
the revolutions mounted until he was past 110 and on to
the 120 m. p. h. mark on the speedometer.
He knew he must be gaining fast. Loaded as she was,
the Citroen could hardly better eighty even on this road.
On an impulse he slowed down to seventy, turned on his
foglights, and dowsed the twin-Marchals. Sure enough,
without the blinding curtain of his own lights, he could
see the glow of another car a mile or two down the
He felt under the dashboard and from a concealed
holster took out a long- barrelled Colt Army Special .45
and laid it on the seat beside him. With this, if he was
lucky with the surface of the road, he could hope to get
their tyres or their petrol tank at anything up to a hun-
Then he switched on the big lights again and screamed
off in pursuit. He felt calm and at ease. The problem of
Vesper's life was a problem no longer. His face in the
blue light from the dashboard was grim but serene.
Ahead in the Citroen there were three men and the
Le Chiffre was driving, his big fluid body hunched
forward, his hands light and delicate on the wheel.
Beside him sat the squat man who had carried the stick
in the Casino. In his left hand he grasped a thick lever
which protruded beside him almost level with the floor.
BLACK HARE AND GREY HOUND
It might have been ; a lever to adjust the driving-seat.
In the back seat was the tall thin gunman. He lay back,
relaxed, gazing at the ceiling, apparently uninterested in
the wild speed of the car. His right hand lay caressingly
on Vesper's left thigh which stretched out naked beside
Apart from her legs, which were naked to the hips.
Vesper was only a parcel. Her long black velvet skirt
had been lifted over her arms and head and tied above
her head with a piece of rope. Where her face was, a
small gap had been torn in the velvet so that she could
breathe. She was not bound in any other way, and she
lay quiet, her body moving sluggishly with the swaying
of the car.
Le Chiffre was concentrating half on the road ahead
and half on the onrushing- glare of Bond's headlights in
the driving mirror. He seemed undisturbed when not
more than a mile separated the hare from the hounds,'
and he even brought the car down from eighty to sixty
miles an hour. Now, as he swept round a bend he slowed
down still further. A few hundred yards ahead a
Michelin post showed where a small parochial road
, crossed with the highway.
'Attention,' he said sharply to the man beside him.
The man's hand tightened on the lever.
A hundred yards from the crossroads he slowed to
thirty. In the mirror Bond's great headlights were
lighting up the bend. j.
Le Chiffre seemed to make up his mind.
The man beside him pulled the lever sharply upwards.
The boot at the back of the car yawned open like a
whale's mouth. There was a tinkling clatter on the road
and then a rhythmic jangling as if the car was towing
lengths of chain behind it.
The man depressed the lever sharply and the jangling
stopped with a final clatter. (
Le Chiffre glanced again in the mirror. Bond's car
was just entering the bend. Le Chiffre made a racing
change and threw the Citroen left-handed down the
narrow side-road, at the same time dowsing his lights.
He stopped the car with a jerk, and all three men got
swiftly out and doubled back under cover of a low
hedge to the crossroads, now fiercely illuminated by the
lights of the Bentley. Each of them carried a revolver,
and the thin man also had what looked like a large egg
in his right hand.
The Bentley screamed down towards them like an ex-
The Crawling of the Skin
As Bond hurtled round the bend, caressing the
great car against the camber with an easy sway of body
and hands, he was working out his plan of action when
the distance between the two cars should narrow still
further. He imagined that the enemy driver would try to
dodge off into a side-road if he got the chance. So when
he had got found the bend and saw no lights ahead, it
was a normal reflex to ease up on the accelerator and,
when he saw the Michelin post, to prepare to brake.
He was only doing about sixty as he approached the
black patch across the right-hand crown of the road
which he assumed to be the shadow cast by a wayside
tree. Even so, there was no time to save himself. There
was suddenly a small carpet of glinting steel spikes right
under his off-side wing. Then he was on top of it.
Bond automatically slammed the brakes full on and
braced all his sinews against the wheel to correct the
inevitable sharp slew to the left, but he only kept control
for a split second. As the rubber was flayed from his
off-side wheels and the rims for an instant tore up the
tarmac, the heavy car whirled across the road in a
tearing dry skid, slammed the left bank with a crash that
knocked Bond out of the driving seat on to the floor;
and then, facing back up the road, it reared slowly
up, its front wheels spinning and its great headlights
searching the sky. For a split second, resting on the
petrol tank, it seemed to paw at the heavens like a giant
praying-mantis. Then slowly it toppled over backwards
and fell with a splintering crash of coachwork and glass.
In the deafening silence, the near-side front wheel
whispered briefly on and then squeaked to a stop.
Le Chiffre and his two men only had to walk a few
yards from their ambush.
'Put your guns away and get him out,' he ordered
brusquely. 'I'll keep you covered. Be careful of him. I
don't want a corpse. And hurry up, it's getting light.'
The two men got down on their knees. One of them
took out a long knife and cut some of the fabric away
from the side of the convertible hood and took hold of
Bond's shoulders. He was unconscious and immovable.
The other squeezed between the up-turned car and the
bank and forced his way through the crumpled window-
frame. He eased Bond's legs, pinned between the
steering wheel and the fabric roof of the car. Then they
inched him out through a hole in the hood.
They were sweating and filthy with dust and oil by the
time they had him lying in the road.
The thin man felt his heart and then slapped his face
hard on either side. Bond grunted and moved a hand.
The thin man slapped him again.
'That's enough,' said Le Chiffre. 'Tie his arms, and
put him in the car. Here.' He threw a roll of flex to the
man. 'Empty his pockets first and give me his gun. He
may have got some other weapons, but we can get them
He took the objects the thin man handed him and
THE CRAWLING OFTHESKIN
stuffed them and Bond's Beretta into his wide pockets
without examining them. He left the men to it and
walked back to the car. His face showed neither
pleasure nor excitement.
It was the sharp bite of the wire flex into his wrists
that brought Bond to himself. He was aching all over as
if he had been thrashed with a wooden club; but when
he was yanked to his feet and pushed towards the
narrow side-road where the engine of the Citrogn was
already running softly, he found that no bones were
broken. But he felt in no mood for desperate attempts
to escape and allowed himself to be dragged into the
back seat of the car without resisting.
He felt thoroughly dispirited and weak in resolve as
well as in his body. He had had to take too much in the
past twenty-four hours and now this last stroke by the
enemy seemed almost too final. This time there could be
no miracles. No one knew where he was and no one
would miss him until well on into the morning. The
wreck of his car would be found before very long, but it
would take hours to trace the ownership to him.
And Vesper. He looked to the right, past the thin man
who was lying back with his eyes closed. His first reac-
tion was one of scorn. Damn fool girl getting herself
trussed up like a chicken, having her skirt pulled over
her head as if the whole of this business was some kind
of dormitory rag. But then he felt sorry for her. Her
naked legs looked so childlike and defenceless.
'Vesper,' he said softly.
There was no answer from the bundle in the corner,
and Bond suddenly had a chill feeling; but then she
At the same time the thin man caught him a hard
back-handed blow over the heart .
Bond doubled over with pain and to shield himself
from another blow, only to get a rabbit punch on the
back of the neck which made him arch back again, the
breath whistling through his teeth.
The thin man had hit him a hard professional cutting
blow with the edge of the hand. There was something
rather deadly about his accuracy and his lack of effort.
He was now again lying back, his eyes closed. He was a
man to make you afraid, an evil man. Bond hoped he
might get a chance of killing him.
Suddenly the boot of the car was thrown open, and
there was a clanking crash. Bond guessed that they had
beert waiting for the third man to retrieve the carpet of
spiked chain-mail. He assumed it must be an adapta-
tion of the nail-studded devices used by the Resistance
against German staff-cars.
Again he reflected on the efficiency of these people
and the ingenuity of the equipment they used. Had M.
underestimated their resourcefulness? He stifled a
desire to place the blame on London. It was he who
should have known. He who should have been warned
by small signs and taken infinitely more precautions. He
squirmed as he thought of himself washing down cham-
pagne in the Roi Galant while the enemy was busy
preparing his counterstroke. He cursed himself and
cursed the hubris which had made him so sure that the
battle was won and the enemy in flight.
All this time Le Chiffre had said nothing. Directly the
boot was shut, the third man, whom Bond at once
recognized, climbed in beside him, and Le Chiffre re-
versed furiously back on the main road. Then he banged
the gear lever through the gate and was soon doing
seventy on down the coast.
By now it was dawn — about five o'clock, Bond
guessed — and he reflected that a mile or two on was the
turning to Le Chiffre's villa. He had not thought that
they would take Vesper there. Now that he realized that
Vesper had only been a sprat to catch a mackerel the
whole picture became clear.
It was an extremely unpleasant picture. For the first
THE CRAWLING OFTHE SKIN
time since his capture, fear came to Bond and crawled
up his spine.
Ten minutes later the Citroen lurched to the left, ran
on a few hundred yards up a small side road partly
overgrown with grass and then between a pair of
dilapidated stucco pillars into an unkempt forecourt
surrounded by a high wall. They drew up in front of a
peeling white door. Above a rusty bell-push in the door-
frame, small zinc letters on a wooden base spelled out
'Les Noctambules' and, underneath 'SonnezSVP.'
From what Bond could see of the cement frontage,
the villa was typical of the French seaside style. He
could imagine the dead bluebottles being hastily swept
out for the summer let and the stale rooms briefly aired
by a cleaning woman sent by the estate agent in Royale.
Every five years one coat of whitewash would be
slapped over the rooms and the outside woodwork, and
for a few weeks the villa would present a smiling front
to the world. Then the winter rains would get to work,
and the imprisoned flies, and quickly the villa would
take on again its abandoned look.
But, Bond reflected, it would admirably serve Le
Chiffre's purpose this morning, if he was right in
assuming what that was to be. They had passed no other
house since his capture, and from his reconnaissance of
the day before he knew there was only an occasional
farm for several miles to the south.
As he was urged out of the car with a sharp crack in
the ribs , from the thin man's elbow, he knew that Le
Chiffre could have them both to himself, undisturbed,
for several hours. Again his skin crawled.
Le Chiffre opened the door with a key and disap-
peared inside. Vesper, looking incredibly indecent in the
early light of day, was pushed in after him with a torrent
of lewd French from the man whom Bond knew to him-
self as 'the Corsican.' Bond followed without giving the
thin man a chance to urge him.
The key of the front door turned in the lock.
Le Chiffre was standing in the doorway of a room on
the right. He crooked a finger at Bond in a silent,
Vesper was being led down a passage towards the
back of the house. Bond suddenly decided.
With a wild backward kick which connected with the
thin man's shins and brought a whistle of pain from
him, he hurled himself down the passage after her. With
only his feet as weapons, there was no plan in his mind
except to do as much damage as possible to the two gun-
men and be able to exchange a few hurried words with
the girl. No other plan was possible. He just wanted to
tell her not to give in.
As the Corsican turned at the commotion Bond was
on him and his right shoe was launched in a flying kick
at the other man's groin.
Like lightning the Corsican slammed himself back
against the wall of the passage and, as Bond's foot
whistled past his hip, he very quickly, but somehow
delicately, shot out his left hand, caught Bond's shoe at
the top of its arc and twisted it sharply.
Completely off balance, Bond's other foot left the
ground. In the air his whole body turned and with the
momentum of his rush behind it crashed sideways and
down on to the floor.
For a moment he lay there, all the breath knocked out
of him. Then the thin man came and hauled him up
against the wall by his collar. He had a gun in his hand.
He looked Bond inquisitively in the eyes, Then
unhurriedly he bent down and swiped the barrel
viciously across Bond's shins. Bond grunted and caved
at the knees.
'If there is a next time, it will be across your teeth,'
said the thin man in bad French.
A door slammed. Vesper and the Corsican had disap-
peared. Bond turned his head to the right. Le Chiffre
had moved a few feet out into the passage. He lifted his
THE CRAWLING OFTHESKIN
finger and crooked it again. Then for the first time he
'Come, my dear friend. We are wasting our time.'
He spoke in English with no accent. His voice was low
and soft and unhurried. He showed no emotion. He
might have been a doctor summoning the next patient
from the waiting-room, a hysterical patient who had
been expostulating feebly with a nurse.
Bond again felt puny and impotent. Nobody but an
expert in ju-jitsu could have handled him with the Cor-
sican's economy and lack of fuss. The cold precision
with which the thin man had paid him back in his own
coin had been equally unhurried, even artistic.
Almost docilely Bond walked back down the passage.
He had nothing but a few more bruises to show for his
clumsy gesture o f resistance to these people .
As he preceded the thin man over the threshold he
knew that he was utterly and absolutely in their power,
'My Dear Boy'
i ,. .
It was a large bare room, sparsely furnished in
cheap French 'art nouveau' style. It was difficult to say
whether it was intended as a living- or dining-room, for
a flimsy-looking mirrored sideboard, sporting an
orange crackle-ware fruit dish and two painted wooden
candlesticks, took up most of the wall opposite the door
and contradicted the faded pink sofa ranged against the
other side of the room.
There was no table in the centre under the
alabasterine ceiling light, only a small square of stained
carpet with a futurist design in contrasting browns.
Over by the window was an incongruous-looking
throne-like chair in carved oak with a red velvet seat, a
low table on which stood an empty water carafe and two
glasses, and a light armchair with a round cane seat and
Half-closed Venetian blinds obscured the view from
the window, but cast bars of early sunlight over the few
pieces of furniture and over part of the brightly papered
MY DEAR BOY'
wall and the brown-stained floorboards.
Le Chif fre pointed at the cane chair.
'That will do excellently,' he said to the thin man.
'Prepare him quickly. If he resists, damage him only a
He turned to Bond. There was no expression on his
large face, and his round eyes were uninterested. 'Take
off your clothes. For every effort to resist, Basil will
break one of your fingers. We are serious people, and
your good health is of no interest to us. Whether you
live or die depends on the outcome of the talk we are
about to have.'
He made a gesture toward the thin man and left the
The thiri man's first action was a curious one. He
opened the clasp-knife he had used on the hood of
Bond's car, took the small armchair, and with a swift
motion cut out its cane seat.
Then he came back to Bond, sticking the still open
knife, like a fountain pen, in the vest pocket of his coat.
He turned Bond round to the light and unwound the
flex from his wrists. Then he stood quickly aside, and
the knife was back in his right hand.
Bond stood chafing his swollen wrists and debating
with himself how much time he could waste by resisting.
He only delayed an instant. With a swift step and a
downward sweep of his free hand, the thin man seized
the collar of his dinner jacket and dragged it down,
pinning Bond's arms back. Bond made the traditional
counter to this old policeman's hold by dropping down
on one knee; but as he dropped the thin man dropped
with him and at the same time brought his knife round
and down behind Bond's back. Bond felt the back of
the blade pass down his spine. There was the hiss of a
sharp knife through cloth and his arms were suddenly
free as the two halves of his coat fell forward.
He cursed and stood up. The thin man was back in his .
previous position, his knife again at the ready in his
relaxed hand. Bond let the two halves of his dinner
jacket fall off his arms on to the floor.
'Allez,' said the thin man with a faint trace of im-
Bond looked him in the eye and then slowly started to
take off his shirt.
Le Chiffre came quietly back into the room. He
carried a pot of what smelt like coffee. He put it on the
small table near the window. He also placed beside it on
the table two other homely objects, a three-foot-long
carpet-beater in twisted cane and a carving-knife.
He settled himself comfortably on the thronelike
chair and poured some of the coffee into one of the
glasses. With one foot he hooked forward the small
armchair, whose seat was now an empty circular frame
of wood, until it was directly opposite him.
Bond stood stark naked in the middle , of the room,
bruises showing livid on his white body, his face a grey
mask of exhaustion and knowledge of what was to
'Sit down there.' Le Chiffre nodded at the chair in
front of him.
Bond walked over and sat down.
The thin man produced some flex. With this he bound
Bond's wrists to the arms of the chair and his ankles to
the front legs. He passed a double strand across his
chest, under the arrnpits and through the chair-back. He
made no mistakes with the knots and left no play in any
of the bindings. All of them bit sharply into Bond's
flesh. The legs of the chair were broadly spaced and
Bond could not even rock it.
He was utterly a prisoner, naked and defenceless.
His buttocks and the underpart of his body protruded
through the seat of the chair towards the floor.
Le Chiffre nodded to the thin man, who quietly left
the room and closed the door.
There was a packet of Gauloises on the table and a
'MY DEAR BOY"
lighter. Le Chiffre lit a cigarette and\
mouthful of coffee from the glass. Then \
the cahe carpet-beater and, resting the h
fortably on his knee, allowed the flat trefoilX ^ ne
on the floor directly under Bond's chair. \ ^
He looked Bond carefully, almost caressingly in the
eyes. Then his wrist sprang suddenly upwards on his
The result was startling.
Bond's whole body arched in an involuntary spasm.
His face contracted in a soundless scream, and his lips
drew right away from his teeth. At the same time his
head flew back with a jerk showing the taut sinews of
his neck. For an instant, muscles stood out in knots all
over his body, and his toes and fingers clenched until
they were quite white. Then his body sagged, and per-
spiration started to bead all over his skin. He uttered a
deep groan. —
Le Chiffre Waited for his eyes to open.
'You see, dear boy?' He smiled a soft, fat smile. 'Is
the position quite clear now? '
A drop of sweat fell off Bond's chin on to his naked
'Now let us get down to business and see how soon we
can be finished with this unfortunate mess you have got
yourself into.' He puffed cheerfully at his cigarette and
gave an admonitory tap on the floor beneath Bond's
chair with his horrible and incongruous instrument.
'My dear boy' — Le Chiffre spoke like a father — 'the
game of Red Indians is over, quite over. You have
stumbled by mischance into a game for grown-ups, and
you have already found it a painful experience. You are
not equipped, my dear boy, to play games with adults;
and it was very foolish of your nanny in London to have
sent you out here with your spade and bucket. Very
foolish indeed, and most unfortunate for you.
'But we must stop joking, my dear fellow, although I
am sure you would like to follow me in developing this
'emy dropped his bantering tone and looked
at Bond sharply and venomously.
1 Where is the money? '
Bond's bloodshot eyes looked emptily back at him.
Again the upward jerk of the wrist, and again Bond's
whole body writhed and contorted.
Le Chiffre waited until the tortured heart eased down
its laboured pumping and until Bond's eyes dully
'Perhaps I should explain,' said Le Chiffre. 'I intend
to continue attacking the sensitive parts of your body
until you answer my question. I am without mercy, and
there will be no relenting. There is no one to stage a last-
minute rescue, and there is no possibility of escape for
you. This is not a romantic adventure story in which the
villain is finally routed and the hero is given a medal and
marries the girl. Unfortunately these things don't
happen in real life. If you continue to be obstinate, you
will be tortured to the edge of madness, and then the girl
will be brought in and we will set about her in front of
you. If that is still not enough, you will both be pain-
fully killed, and I shall reluctantly leave your bodies and
make my way abroad to a comfortable house which is
waiting for me. There I shall take up a useful and
profitable career and live to a' ripe and peaceful old age
in the bosom of the family I shall doubtless create. So
you see, my dear boy, that I stand to lose nothing. If
you hand the money over, so much the better. If not, I
shall shrug my shoulders and be on my way. '
He paused, and his wrist lifted slightly on his knee.
Bond's flesh cringed as the cane surface just touched
'But you, my dear fellow, can only hope that I shall
spare you further pain and spare your life. There is no
other hope for you but that. Absolutely none.
Bond closed his eyes and waited for the pain. He
'MY DEAR BOY'
knew that the beginning of torture is the worst. There is
a parabola of agony. A crescendo leading up to a peak,
and then the nerves are blunted and react progressively
less until unconsciousness and death. All he could do
was to pray for the peak, pray that his spirit would hold
out so long and then accept the long free-wheel down to
the final blackout.
He had been told by colleagues who had survived tor-
ture by the Germans and the Japanese that towards the
end there came a wonderful period of warmth and
languor leading into a sort of sexual twilight where pain
turned to pleasure and where hatred and fear of the tor-
tures turned to a masochistic infatuation. It was the
. supreme test of will, he had learnt, to avoid showing this
form of punch-drunkenness. Directly it was suspected
they would either kill you at once and save themselves
N further useless effort, or let you recover sufficiently for
your nerves to creep back to the other side of the
parabola. Then they would start again.
He opened his eyes a fraction.
Le Chiffre had been waiting for this, and like a rattle-
snake the cane instrument leapt up from the floor. It
struck again and again so that Bond screamed and his
body jangled in the chair like a marionette.
Le Chiffre desisted only when Bond's tortured
spasms showed a trace of sluggishness. He sat for a
while sipping his coffee and frowning slightly like a
surgeon watching a cardiograph during a difficult
When Bond's eyes flickered and opened he addressed
him again, but now with a trace of impatience.
'We know that the money is somewhere in your
room,' he said. 'You drew a cheque to cash for forty
,/ million francs, and I know that you went back to the
hotel to hide it.'
For a moment Bond wondered how he had been so
'Directly you left for the night club,' continued Le
Chiffre, 'your room was searched by four of my
The Muntzes must have helped, reflected Bond.
'We found a good deal in childish hiding-places. The
ball-cock in the lavatory yielded an interesting little
code-book, -and we found some more of your papers
taped to the back of a drawer. All the furniture has been
taken to pieces, and your clothes and the curtains and
bedclothes have been cut up. Every inch of the room has
been searched, and all the fittings removed. It is most
unfortunate for you that we didn't find the cheque. If
we had, you would now be comfortably in bed, perhaps
with the beautiful Miss Lynd, instead of this.' He lashed
Through the red mist of pain, Bond thought of
Vesper. He could imagine how she was being used by
the two gunmen. They would be making the most of her
before she was sent for by Le Chiffre. He thought of the
fat wet lips of the Corsican and the slow cruelty of the
thin man. Poor wretch to have been dragged into this.
Poor little beast.
Le Chiffre was talking again.
'Torture is a terrible thing,' he was saying as he
puffed at a fresh cigarette, 'but it is a simple matter for
the torturer, particularly when the patient' — he smiled
at the word — 'is a man. You see, my dear Bond, with a
man it is quite unnecessary to indulge in refinements.
With this simple instrument, or with almost any other
object, one can cause a man as much pain as is possible
or necessary. Do not believe what you read in novels or
books about the war. There is nothing worse. It is not
only the immediate agony, but also the thought that
your manhood is being gradually destroyed and that at
the end, if you will not yield, you will no longer be a
'That, my dear Bond, is a sad and terrible thought — a
long chain of agony for the body and also for the mind,
and then the final screaming moment when you will beg
'MY DEAR BOY' 117
me to kill you. All that is inevitable unless you tell me
where you hid the money. '
He poured some more coffee into the glass and drank
it down, leaving brown corners to his mouth.
Bond's lips were writhing. He was trying to say
something. At last he got the word out in a harsh croak:
'Drink,' he said and his tongue came out and swilled
across his dry lips. .
'Of course, my dear boy, how thoughtless of me!' Le
Chiffre poured some coffee into the other glass. There
was a ring of sweat drops on the floor all around Bond's
'We must certainly keep your tongue lubricated.'
He laid the handle of the carpet-beater down on the
floor between his thick legs and rose from his chair. He
went behind Bond and taking a handful of his soaking
hair in one hand, he wrenched Bond's, head sharply
back. He poured the coffee down Bond's throat in small
mouthfuls so that he would not choke. Then he released
his head so that it fell forward again on his chest. He
went back to his chair and picked up the carpet-beater.
Bond raised his head and spoke thickly.
'Money no good to you.' His voice was a laborious
croak. 'Police trace it to you.'
Exhausted by the effort, his head sank forward again.
He was a little, but only a little, exaggerating the extent
of his physical collapse. Anything to gain time, aind
anything to defer the next searing pain.
'Ah, my dear fellow, I had forgotten to tell you.' Le
Chiffre smiled wolfishly. 'We met after our little game
at the Casino, and you were such a sportsman that you
agreed we would have one more run through the pack
between the two of us. It was a gallant gesture. Typical
of an English gentleman.
'Unfortunately you lost, and this upset you so much
that you decided to leave Royale immediately for an
unknown destination. Like the gentleman you are, you
very kindly gave me a note explaining the circumstances
so that I would have no difficulty in cashing your
cheque. You see, dear boy, everything has been thought
of, and you need have no fears on my account.' He
'Now shall we continue? I have all the time in the
world, and truth to tell I am rather interested to see how
long a man can stand this particular form of — er — en-
couragement.' He rattled the harsh cane on the floor.
So that was the score, thought Bond, with a final
sinking of the heart. The 'unknown destination' would
be under the ground or under the sea, or perhaps, more
simple, under the crashed Bentley. Well, if he had to die
anyway, he might as well try it the hard way. He had no
hope that Mathis or Leiter would get to him in time, but
at least there was a chance that they would catch up with
Le Chiffre before he could get away. It must be getting
on for seven. The car might have been found by now. It
was a choice of evils; but the longer Le Chiffre con-
tinued the torture the more likely he would be revenged.
Bond lifted his head and looked Le Chiffre in the
The china of the whites was now veined with red. It
was like looking at two black currants poached in
blood. The rest of the wide face was yellowish except
where a thick black stubble covered the moist skin. The
upward edges of black coffee at the corners of the
mouth gave his expression a false smile and the whole
face was faintly striped by the light through the Venetian
'No,' he said flatly, '. . . you.'
Le Chiffre grunted and set to work again with savage
fury. Occasionally he snarled like a wild beast.
After ten minutes Bond had fainted, blessedly,
Le Chiffre at once stopped. He wiped some sweat
from his face with a circular motion of his disengaged
hand. Then he looked at his watch and seemed to make
up his mind. •
He got up and stood behind the inert, dripping body.
'MY DEAR BOY*
There was no colour in Bond's face or anywhere on his
body above the waist. There was a faint flutter of his
skin above the heart. Otherwise he might have been
Le Chiffre seized Bond's ears and harshly twisted
them. Then he leant forward and slapped his cheeks
hard several times. Bond's head rolled from side to side
with each blow. Slowly his breathing became deeper. An
animal groan came from his lolling mouth. ,
Le Chiffre took a glass of coffee and poured some
into Bond's mouth and threw the rest in his face. Bond's
eyes slowly opened.
Le Chiffre returned to his chair and waited. He lit a
cigarette and contemplated the spattered pool of blood
on the floor beneath the inert body opposite.
Bond groaned again pitifully. It was an inhuman
sound. His eyes opened wide, and he gazed dully at his
torturer. . .„
Le Chiffre spoke.
'That is all, Bond. We will now finish with you. You
understand? Not kill you, but finish with you. And then
we will have in the girl and see if something can be got
out of the remains of the two of you.' .
He reached towards the table.
'Say goodbye to it, Bond.'
A Craglike Face
It was extraordinary to hear the third voice. The
hour's ritual had only demanded a duologue against the
horrible noise of the torture. Bond's dimmed senses
hardly took it in. Then suddenly he was halfway back to
consciousness. He found he could see and hear again.
He could hear the dead silence after the one quiet word
from the doorway. He could see Le Chiffre's head
slowly come up and the expression of blank astonish-
ment, of innocent amazement, slowly give way to fear.
'Shtop,' had said the voice, quietly.
Bond heard slow steps approaching behind his chair.
'Dhrop it,' said the voice.
Bond saw Le Chiffre's hand open obediently and the
knife fall with a clatter to the floor.
He tried desperately to read into Le Chiffre's face
what was happening behind him, but all he saw was
blind incomprehension and terror. Le Chiffre's mouth
worked, but only a high-pitched 'eek' came from it. His
heavy cheeks trembled as he tried to collect enough
A CRAGLIKE FACE
saliva in his mouth to say something, ask something.
His hands fluttered vaguely in his lap. One of them
made a slight movement towards his pocket, but in-
stantly fell back. His round staring eyes had lowered for
a split second, and Bond guessed there was a gun trained
There was a moment's silence.
The word came almost with a sigh. It came with a
downward cadence as if nothing else had to be said. It
was the final explanation. The last word of all.
'No,' said Le Chiffre. 'No. I . . .' His voice trailed
Perhaps he was going to explain, to apologize, but
what he must have seen in the other's face made it all
'Your two men. Both dead. You are a fool and a thief
and a traitor. I have been sent from the Soviet Union to
eliminate you. You are fortunate that I have only time
to shoot you. If it was possible, I was instructed that
you should die most painfully. We cannot see the end of
the trouble you have caused.'
The thick voice stopped. There was silence in the
room save for the rasping breath of Le Chiffre.
Somewhere outside, a bird began to sing and there
were other small noises from the awakening coun-
tryside. The sweat on Le Chiffre's face glistened
'Do you plead guilty? '
Bond wrestled with his consciousness. He screwed up
his eyes and tried to shake his head to clear it; but his
whole nervous system was numbed, and no message
was transmitted to his muscles. He could just keep his
focus on the great pale face in front of him and on its
A thin string of saliva crept from the open mouth and
hung down from the chin.
'Yes,' said the mouth. . . .
There was a sharp phut, no louder than a bubble of
air escaping from a tube of toothpaste. No other noise
at all, and suddenly Le Chiffre had grown another eye,
a third eye on a level with the other two, right where the
thick nose started to jut out below the forehead. It was a
small black eye, without eyelashes or eyebrows.
For a second the three eyes looked out across the
room, and then the whole face seemed to slip and go
down on one knee. The two outer eyes turned trembling
up towards the ceiling. Then the heavy head fell
sideways and the right shoulder and finally the whole
upper part of the body lurched over the arm of the chair
as if Le Chiffre were going to be sick. But there was only
a short rattle of his heels on the ground, and then no
The tall back of the chair looked impassively out
across the dead body in its arms.
There was a faint movement behind Bond. A hand
came from behind and grasped his chin and pulled it
For a moment Bond looked up into two glittering eyes
behind a narrow black mask. There was the impression
of a craglike face under a hatbrim, the collar of a fawn
mackintosh. He could take in nothing more before his
head was pushed down again.
'You are fortunate,' said the voice. 'I have no orders
to kill you. Your life has been saved twice in one day.
But you can tell your organization that SMERSH is only
merciful by chance or by mistake. In your case you were
saved first by chance and now by mistake, for I should
have had orders to kill any foreign spies who were
hanging around this traitor like flies round a dog's-
'But I shall leave you my visiting card. You are a gam-
bler. You play at cards. One day perhaps you will play
against one of us. It would be well that you should be
known as a spy.'
Steps moved round to behind Bond's right shoulder.
A CRAG LIKE FACE
There was the click of a knife opening. An arm in some
grey material came into Bond's line of vision. A broad
hairy hand emerging from a dirty white shirt-cuff was
holding a thin stiletto like a fountain-pen. It poised for a
moment above the back of Bond's right hand, im-
movably bound with flex to the arm of the chair. The
point of the stiletto executed three quick straight
slashes. A fourth slash crossed them where they ended,
just short of the knuckles. Blood in the shape of an in-
verted 'M' welled out and slowly started to drip on to
The pain was nothing to what Bond was already suf-
fering, but it was enough to plunge him again into un-
The steps moved quietly away across the room. The
door was softly closed.
In the silence, the cheerful small sounds of the sum-
mer's day crept through the closed window. High on the
left-hand wall hung two small patches of pink light. They
were reflections cast upwards from the floor by the
zebra stripes of June sunshine, cast upwards from two
separate pools of blood a few feet apart.
As the day progressed the pink patches marched
slowly along the wall. And slowly they grew larger.
The White Tent
You are about to awaken when you dream that
you are dreaming.
During the next two days James Bond was per-
manently in this state without regaining consciousness.
He watched the procession of his dreams go by without
making any effort to disturb their sequence, although
many of them were terrifying and all were painful. He
knew that he was in a bed and that he was lying on his
back and could not move and in one of his twilight
moments he thought there were people round him; but
he made no effort to open his eyes and reenter the
He felt safe in the darkness, and he hugged it to him.
On the morning of the third day a bloody nightmare
shook him awake, trembling and sweating. There was a
hand on his forehead which he associated with his
dream. He tried to lift an arm and smash it sideways
into the owner of the hand, but his arms were im-
movable, secured to the sides of his bed. His whole body
was strapped down and something like a large white cof-
fin covered him from chest to feet and obscured his view
of the end of the bed. He shouted a string of obscenities;
but the effort took all his strength, and the words tailed
off into a sob. Tears of forlornness and self-pity welled
out of his eyes.
A woman's voice was speaking, and the words
gradually penetrated to him. It seemed to be a kind
voice, and it slowly came to him that he was being com-
forted, and that this was a friend and not an enemy. He
could hardly believe it. He had been so certain that he
was still a captive, and that the torture was about to
begin again. He felt his face being softly wiped with a
cool cloth which smelt of lavender, and then he sank
back into his dreams.
When he awoke again some hours later all his terrors
had gone, and he felt warm and languorous. Sun was
streaming into the bright room, and garden sounds
came through the window. In the background there was
the noise of small waves on a beach. As he moved his
head he heard a rustle, and a nurse who had been sitting
beside his pillow rose and came into his line of vision.
She was pretty, and she smiled as she put her hand on
'Well, I'm certainly glad you've woken up at last. I've
never heard such dreadful language in my life. '
Bond smiled back at her.
'Where am I?' he asked, and was surprised that his
Voice sounded firm and clear.
'You're in a nursing home at Royale and I've been
sent over from England to look after you. There are two
of us, and I'm Nurse Gibson. Now just lie quiet, and I'll
go and tell doctor you're awake. You've been un-
conscious since they brought you in, and we've been
Bond closed his eyes and mentally explored his body.
The worst pain was in his wrists and ankles and in his
right hand where the Russian had cut him. In the centre
of the body there was no feeling. He assumed that he
had been given a local anaesthetic. The rest of his body
ached dully as if he had been beaten all over. He could
feel the pressure of bandages everywhere, and his un-
shaven neck and chin prickled against the sheets. From
the feel of the bristles he knew that he must have been at
least three days without shaving. That meant two days
since the morning of the torture.
- He was preparing a short list of questions in his mind
when the door opened and the doctor came in followed
by the nurse and, in the background, the dear figure of
Mathis, a Mathis looking anxious behind his broad
smile, who put a finger to his lips and walked on, tiptoe
to the window and sat down.
The doctor, a Frenchman with a young and intelligent
face, had been detached from his duties with the
DeuxiSme Bureau to look after Bond's case. He came
and stood beside Bond and put his hand on Bond's
forehead while he looked at the temperature chart
behind the bed.
When he spoke he was forthright.
'You have a lot of questions to ask, my dear Mr.
Bond,' he said in excellent English, 'and I can tell you
most of the answers. I do not want you to waste your
strength, so I will give you the salient facts and then you
may have a few minutes with Monsieur Mathis who
wishes to obtain one or two details from you. It is really
too early for this talk, but I wish to set your mind at rest
so that we can proceed with the task of repairing your
body without bothering too much about your mind.'
Nurse Gibson pulled up a chair for the doctor and left
'You have been here about two days,' continued the
doctor. 'Your car was found by a farmer on the way to
market in Royale, and he informed the police. After
some delay Monsieur Mathis heard that it was your car,
and he immediately went to Les Noctambules with his
men. You and Le Chiffre were found and also your
THE WHITE TENT 127
friend, Miss Lynd, who was unharmed and according to
her account suffered no molestation. She was prostrated
with shock, but is now fully recovered and is at her
hotel. She has been instructed by her superior in
London to stay at Royale under your orders until you
are sufficiently recovered to go back to England.
'Le Chiffre's two gunmen are dead, each killed by a
single .35 bullet in the back of the skull. From the lack
of expression on their faces, they evidently never saw or
heard their assailant. They were found in the same room
as Miss Lynd. Le Chiffre is dead, shot with a similar
weapon between the eyes. Did you witness his death? '
'Yes,' said Bond.
'Your own injuries are serious, but your life is not in
danger though you have lost a lot of blood. If all goes
well, you will recover completely and none of the func-
tions of your body will be impaired.' The doctor smiled
grimly. 'But I fear that you will continue to be in pain
for several days, and it will be my endeavour to give you
as much comfort as possible. Now that you have
regained consciousness your arms will be freed, but you
must not move your body; and when you sleep the nurse
has orders to secure your arms again. Above all, it is im-
portant that you rest and regain your strength. At the
moment you are suffering from a grave condition of
mental and physical, shock.' The doctor paused. 'For
how long Were you maltreated? '
'About an hour, ' said Bond.
'Then it is remarkable that you are alive, and I
congratulate you. Few men could have supported what
you have been through. Perhaps that is some con-
solation. As Monsieur Mathis can tell you, I have had in
my time to treat a number of patients who have suffered
similar handling, and not one has come through it as
you have done.'
The doctor looked at Bond for a moment and turned
brusquely to Mathis.
'You may have ten minutes, and then you will be
forcibly ejected. If you put the patient's temperature
up, you will answer for it.'
He gave them both a broad smile and left the room.
Mathis came over and took the doctor's chair.
'That's agoodman,' said Bond. 'I like him.'
'He's attached to the Bureau,' said Mathis. 'He is a
very good man, and I will tell you about him one of
these days. He thinks you are a prodigy — and so do I,
'However, that can wait. As you can imagine, there is
much to clear up, and I am being pestered by Paris and,
of course, London, and even by Washington via our
good friend Leiter. Incidentally,' he broke off, 'I have a
personal message from M. He spoke to me himself on
the telephone. He simply said to tell you that he is much
impressed. I asked if that was all, and he said: "Well,
tell him that the Treasury is. greatly relieved." Then he
Bond grinned with pleasure. What most warmed him
was that M. himself should have rung up Mathis.. This
was quite unheard of. The very existence of M., let
alone his identity, was never admitted. He could
imagine the flutter this must have caused in the ultra-
security-minded organization in London.
'A tall thin man with one arm came over from
London the same day we found you,' continued Mathis,
knowing from his own experience that these shop details
would interest Bond more than anything else and give
him most pleasure, 'and he fixed up the nurses and
looked after everything. Even your car's being repaired
for you. He seemed to be Vesper's boss. He spent a lot
of time with her and gave her strict instructions to look
Head of S., thought Bond. They're certainly giving
me the red-carpet treatment.
'Now,' said Mathis, 'to business. Who killed Le
'SMERSH,' said Bond.
Mathis gave a low whistle.
THE WHITE TENT
'My God,' he said respectfully. 'So they were on to
him. What did he look like?' ,:
Bond explained briefly what had happened up to the
moment of Le Chiffre's death, omitting all but the most
essential details. It cost him an effort, and he was glad
when it was done. Casting his mind back to the scene
awoke the whole nightmare, and the sweat began to
pour off his forehead and a deep throb of pain started
up in his body.
Mathis realized that he was going too far. Bond's
voice was getting feebler, and his eyes were clouding.
Mathis snapped shut his shorthand book and laid a
hand on Bond's shoulder.
'Forgive me, my friend,' he said. 'It is all over now,
and you are in safe hands. All is well, and the whole
plan has gone splendidly. We have announced that Le
Chiffre shot his two accomplices and then committed
suicide because he could, not face an inquiry into the
union funds. Strasbourg and the north are in an uproar.
He was considered a great hero there and a pillar of the
Communist Party in France. This story of brothels and
casinos has absolutely knocked the bottom out of his
organization, and they're all running around like
scalded cats. At the moment the Communist Party is
giving out that he was off his head. But that hasn't
helped much after Thorez's breakdown not long ago.
They're just making it look as if all their big-shots were
gaga. God knows how they're going to unscramble the
Mathis saw that his enthusiasm had had the desired
effect. Bond's eyes were brighter.
'One last mystery,' Mathis said, 'and then I promise I
will go.' He looked at his watch. 'The doctor will be
after my skin in a moment. Now, what about the
money? Where is it? Where did you hide it? We too
have been over your room with 1 a toothcomb. It isn't
'It is,' he said, 'more or less. On the door of each
room, there is a small square of black plastic with the
number of the room on it. On the corridor side, of
course. When Leiter left me that night, I simply opened
the door and unscrewed my number plate and put the
folded cheque underneath it and screwed the plate back.
It'll still be there.' He smiled. 'I'm glad there's
something the stupid English can teach the clever
Mathis laughed delightedly.
'I suppose you think that's paid me back for knowing
what the Muntzes were up to. Well, I'll call it quits. In-
cidentally, we've got them in the bag. They were just
some minor fry hired for the occasion. We'll see that
they get a few years. '
He rose hastily as the doctor stormed into the room
and took one look at Bond.
'Out,' he said to Mathis! 'Out, and don't come back.'
Mathis just had time to wave cheerfully to Bond and
call some hasty words of farewell before he was hustled
through the door. Bond heard a torrent of heated
French diminishing down the corridor. He lay back
exhausted, but heartened by all he had heard. He found
himself thinking of Vesper as he quickly drifted off into
a troubled sleep.
There were still questions to be answered, but they
CHAPTER 20 •■ '
The Nature of Evil
Bond made good progress. When Mathis came to
see him three days later he was propped up in bed, and
his arms were free. The lower half of his body was still
shrouded in the oblong tent, but he looked cheerful and
it was only occasionally that a twinge of pain narrowed
Mathis looked crestfallen.
'Here's your cheque,' he said to Bond. 'I've rather
enjoyed walking around with forty million francs in my
pocket, but I suppose you'd better sign it and I'll put it
to your account with the Credit Lyonnais. There's no
sign of our friend from SMERSH. Not a damn trace. He
must have got to the villa on foot or on a bicycle because
you heard nothing of his arrival and the two gunmen
obviously didn't. It's pretty exasperating. We've got
precious little on this SMERSH organization, and neither
has London. Washington said they had; but it turned
out to be the usual waffle from refugee interrogation,
and you know that's about as much good as in-
132 CASINO ROYALE
terrogating an English man-in-the-street about his own
Secret Service, or a Frenchman about the Deuxieme.'
'He probably came from Leningrad to Berlin via j
"Warsaw, ' said Bond. 'From Berlin. they've got plenty of j
routes open to the rest of Europe. He's back home by
now being told off for not shooting me too. I fancy
they've got quite a file on me in view of one or two of i
the jobs M.'s given me since the war. He obviously I
thought he was being smart enough cutting his initial in
'What's that?' asked Mathis. 'The doctor said the
cuts looked like a square M with a tail to the top. He
said they didn't mean anything.'
•'Well, I Only got a glimpse before I passed out, but
I've seen the cuts several times while they were being
dressed and I'm pretty certain they are the Russian letter
for SH. It's rather like an inverted M with a tail. That
would make sense. SMERSH is short for smyert
SHPIONAM— Death to Spies— and he thinks he's labelled
me as a SHPION. It's a nuisance because M. will
probably say I've got to go to hospital again when I get
back to London and have new skin grafted over the
whole of the back of my hand. It doesn't matter much.
I've decided to resign.'
Mathis looked at him with his mouth open.
'Resign? ' he asked incredulously. 'What the hell for? '
Bond looked away from Mathis. He studied his ban-
'When I was being beaten up,' he said, 'I suddenly
liked the idea of being alive. Before Le Chiffre began,
he used a phrase which stuck in my mind: "playing Red
Indians." He said that's what I had been doing. Well, I
suddenly thought he might be right.
'You see,' he said, still looking down at his bandages,
'when one's young, it seems very easy to distinguish be-
tween right and wrong; but as one gets older it becomes
more difficult. At school it's easy to pick out one's own
THE NATURE OF EVIL
villains and heroes, and one grows up wanting to be a
hero and kill the villains . '
He looked obstinately at Mathis.
'Well, in the last few years I've killed two villains.
The first was in New York — a Japanese cipher expert
cracking our codes on the thirty-sixth floor of the
R.C.A. Building in Rockefeller Center, where the Japs
had their consulate. I took a room on the fortieth floor
of the next-door skyscraper, and I could look across the
street into his room and see him working.. Then I got a
colleague from our organization in New York and a
couple of Remington thirty-thirty's with telescopic
sights and silencers. We smuggled them up to my room
and sat for days waiting for our chance. He shot at the
man a second before me. His job was only to blast a
hole through the window so that I could shoot the Jap
through it. They have tough windows at Rockefeller
Center to keep the noise out. It worked very well. As I
expected, his bullet got deflected by the glass and went
God knows where. But I shot immediately after him,
through the hole he had made. I got the Jap in the
mouth as he turned to gape at the broken window.'
Bond smoked for a minute.
'It was a pretty sound job. Nice and clean too. Three
hundred yards away. No personal contact. The next
time in Stockholm wasn't so pretty. I had to kill a Nor-
wegian who was doubling against us for the Germans.
He'd managed to get two of our men captured
— probably bumped off for all I know. For various
reasons it had to be an absolutely silent job. I chose the
bedroom of his flat and a knife. And, well, he just
didn' t die very quickly.
'For those two jobs I was awarded a Double O num-
ber in the Service. Felt pretty clever and got a reputation
for being good and tough. A Double O number in our
Service means you've had to kill a chap in cold blood in
the course of some job.
'Now,' he looked up again at Mathis, 'that's all very
fine — the hero kills two villains; but when the hero
Le Chiffre starts to kill the villain Bond and the villain
Bond knows he isn't a villain at all, you see the other
side of the medal. The villains and heroes get all mixed
'Of course,' he added, as Mathis started to ex-
postulate, 'patriotism comes along and makes it seem
fairly all right, but this country-right-or-wrong business
is getting a little out of date. Today we are fighting com-
munism. Okay. If I'd been alive fifty years ago, the
brand of conservatism we have today would have been
damn near called communism, and we should have been
told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty
quickly these days, and the heroes and villains keep on
Mathis stared at him aghast. Then he tapped his head
and put a calming hand on Bond's arm.
'You mean to say that this precious Le Chiffre who
did his best to turn you into a eunuch doesn't qualify as
a villain?' he asked. 'Anyone would think from the rot
you talk that he had been battering your head instead of
your . . .' he gestured down the bed. 'You wait till M.
tells you to get after another Le Chiffre. I bet you'll go
after him all right. And what about SMERSH? I can tell
you I don't like the idea of these chaps running around
France killing anyone they feel has been a traitor to their
precious political system. You're a bloody anarchist.'
He threw his arms in the air and let them fall
helplessly to his sides.
'All right,' he said. 'Take our friend Le Chiffre. It's
simple enough to say he was an evil man; at least it's
simple enough for me, because he did evil things to me.
If he was here now, I wouldn't hesitate to kill him^but
out of personal revenge and not, I'm afraid, for some
high moral reason or for the sake of my country.'
He looked up at Mathis to see how bored he was
THE NATURE OF EVIL
getting with these introspective refinements of what, to
Mathis, was a simple question of his duty.
Mathis smiled back at him.
'Continue, my dear friend. It is interesting for me to
see this new Bond. Englishmen are so odd. They are like
a nest of Chinese boxes. It takes a very long time to get
to the centre of them. When one gets there the result is
unrewarding, but the process is instructive and en-
tertaining. Continue. Develop your arguments. There
may be something I can use to my own chief the next
time I want to get out of an unpleasant job.' He grinned
Bond ignored him.
'Now in order to tell the difference between good and
evil, we have manufactured two images representing the
extremes — representing the deepest black and the purest
white— and we call them God and the Devil. But in
doing so we have cheated a bit. God is a clear image,
you can see every hair on His beard. But the Devil.
What does he look like?' Bond looked triumphantly at
Mathis laughed ironically.
'It's all very fine,' said Bond; 'but I've been thinking
about these things, and I'm wondering whose side I
ought to be on. I'm getting very sorry for the Devil and
Ms disciples, such as the good Le Chiffre. The Devil has
a rotten time, and I always like to be on the side of the
underdog. We don't give the poor chap a chance.
There's a Good Book about goodness and how to be
good and so forth, but there's no Evil Book about evil
and how to be bad. The Devil had no prophets to write
his Ten Commandments, and no team of authors to
write his biography. His case has gone completely by
default. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy
.. stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no
book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its
forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about
evil people, folklore about evil people. All we have is the
living example of the people who are least good, or our
'So,' continued Bond, warming to his argument, 'Le
Chiffre was serving a wonderful purpose, a really vital
purpose, perhaps the best and highest purpose of all. By
his evil existence, which foolishly I have helped to
destroy, he was creating a norm of badness by which,
and by which alone, an opposite norm of goodness
could exist. We were privileged, in our short knowledge
of him, to see and estimate his wickedness, and we
emerge from the acquaintanceship better and more vir-
'Bravo,' said Mathis. 'I'm proud of you. You ought
to be tortured every day. I really must remember to do
something evil this evening. I must start at once. I have
a few marks in my favour — only small ones, alas,' he
added ruefully; 'but I shall work fast now that I have
seen the light. What a splendid time I'm going to have!
Now, let's see, where shall I start — murder, arson,
rape? But no, these are peccadilloes. I must really con-
sult the good Marquis de Sade. I am a child, an absolute
child in these matters.'
His face fell.
'Ah, but our conscience, my dear Bond. What shall
we do with him while we are committing some juicy sin?
That is a problem. He is a crafty person this conscience
and very old, as old as the first family of apes which
gave birth to him. We must give that problem really
careful thought, or we shall spoil our enjoyment. Of
course, we should murder him first, but he is a tough
bird. It will be difficult, but if we succeed we could be
worse even than Le Chiffre.
'For you, dear James, it is easy. You can start off by
resigning. That was a brilliant thought of yours, a splen-
did start to your new career. And so simple. Everyone
has the revolver of resignation in his pocket. All you've
got to do is pull the trigger, and you will have made a
THE NATURE OF EVIL
big hole in your country and your conscience at the
same time. A murder and a suicide with one bullet!
Splendid. What a difficult and glorious profession! As
for me, I must start embracing the new cause at once.'
He looked at his watch.
'Good. I've started already. I'm half an hour late for
a meeting with the chief of police. '
He rose to his feet, laughing.
'That was most enjoyable, my dear James. You really
ought to go on the halls. Now about that little problem
of yours, this business of not knowing good men from
bad men and villains from heroes, and so forth. It is, of
course, a difficult problem in the abstract. The secret
lies in personal experience, whether you're a Chinaman
or an Englishman.'
He paused at the door.
'You admit that Le Chiffre did you personal evil, and
that you would kill him if he appeared in front of you
'Well, when you get back to London you will find
there are other Le Chiffres seeking to destroy you and
your friends and your country. M. will tell you about
them. And now that you have seen a really evil man you
will know how evil they can be, and you will go after
them to destroy them in order to protect yourself and
the people you love. You won't wait or argue about it.
You know what they look like now and what they can
do to people. You may be a bit more choosy about the
jobs you fake on. You may want to be certain that the
target really is black; but there are plenty of really black
targets around. There's still plenty for you to do. And
you'll do it. And when you fall in love and have a
mistress or a wife and children to look after, it will seem
all the easier.'
Mathis opened the door and stopped on the
'Surround yourself with human beings, my dear
James. They are easier to fight for than principles. '
He laughed. 'But don't let me down and become
human yourself. We would lose such a wonderful
With a wave of the hand he shut the door.
'Hey, ' shouted Bond.
But the footsteps went quickly off down the passage.
It was on the next day that Bond asked to see
He had not wanted to see her before. He was told that
every day she came to the nursing home and asked after
him. Flowers had arrived from her. Bond didn't like
flowers, and he told the nurse to give them to another
patient. After this had happened twice, no more flowers
came. Bond had not meant to offend her. He disliked
having feminine things around him. Flowers seemed to
ask for recognition of the person who had sent them, to
be constantly transmitting a message of sympathy and
affection. Bond found this irksome. He disliked being
cosseted. It gave him claustrophobia.
Bond was bored at the idea of having to explain some
of this to Vesper. And he was embarrassed at having to
ask one or two questions which mystified him, questions
about Vesper's behaviour. The answers would almost
certainly make her out to be a fool. Then he had his full
report to M. to think about. In this he didn't want to
have to criticize Vesper. It might easily cost her her job.
But above all, he admitted to himself, he shirked the
answer to a more painful question.
The doctor had talked often to Bond about his in-
juries. He had always told him that there would be no
evil effects from the terrible battering his body had
received. He had said that Bond's full health would
return, and that none of his powers had been taken
from him. But the evidence of Bond's eyes and his
nerves refused these comforting assurances. He was still
painfully swollen and bruised, and whenever the in-
jections wore off he was in agony. Above all, his
imagination had suffered. For an hour in that room
with Le Chiffre the certainty of impotence had been
beaten into him; and a scar had been left on his mind
that could only be healed by experience.
From the day when Bond first met Vesper in the Her-
mitage bar, he had found her desirable; and he knew
that if things had been different in the night club, if
Vesper had responded in any way and if there had been
no kidnapping, he would have tried to sleep with her
that night. Even later, in the car and outside the villa
when he had had other things to think about, his
eroticism had been hotly aroused by the sight of her in-
And now, when he could see her again, he was afraid.
Afraid that his senses and his body would not respond
to her sensual beauty. Afraid that he would feel no stir
of desire, and that his blood would stay cool. In his
mind he had made this first meeting into a test, and he
was shirking the answer. That was the real reason, he
admitted, why he had waited to give his body a chance
to respond, why he had put off . their first meeting for
over a week. He would have liked to put off the meeting
still further, but he explained to himself that his report
must be written, that any day an emissary from London
would come over and want to hear the full story, that
today was as good as tomorrow, that anyway he might
as well know the worst.
So on the eighth day he asked for her, for the early
morning when he was feeling refreshed and strong after
the night's rest.
For no reason at all, he had expected that she would
show some sign of her experiences, that she would look
pale and even ill. He was not prepared for the tall
bronzed girl in a cream tussore frock with a black belt
who came happily through the door and stood smiling
-Good heavens, Vesper/ he said with a wry gesture of
welcome, 'you look absolutely splendid. You must
thrive on disaster. How have you managed to get such a
wonderful sunburn? '
'I feel very guilty,' she said sitting down beside him.
'But I've been bathing every day while you've been lying
here. The doctor said I was to and Head of S. said I was
to; so— well, I just thought it wouldn't help you for me
to be moping away all day long in my room. I've found
a wonderful stretch of sand down the coast, and I take
my lunch and go there every day with a book, and I
don't come back till the evening. There's a bus that
takes me there and back with only a short walk over the
dunes, and I've managed to get over the fact that it's on
the way down that road to the villa. '
Her voice faltered.
The mention of the villa had made Bond's eyes
She continued bravely, refusing to be defeated by
Bond's lack of response.
'The doctor says it won't be long before you're
allowed up. I thought perhaps ... I thought perhaps I
could take you down to this beach later on. The doctor
says that bathing would be very good for you. '
'God knows when I'll be able to bathe,' he said. 'The
142 CASINO ROYALE
doctor's talking through his hat. And when I can bathe
it would probably be better for me to bathe alone for a
bit. I don't want to frighten anybody. Apart from
anything else/ he glanced pointedly down the bed, 'my
body's a mass of scars and bruises. But you enjoy your-
self. There's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy your-
Vesper was stung by the bitterness and injustice in his
'I'm sorry,' she said. 'I just thought ... I was just
trying . . .'
Suddenly her eyes filled with tears. She swallowed.
'I wanted ... I wanted to help you get well.'
Her voice strangled. She looked piteously at him,
facing the accusation in his eyes and in his manner.
■ Then she broke down and buried her face in her
hands and sobbed.
'I'm sorry,' she said in a muffled voice. 'I'm really
sorry.' With one hand she searched for a handkerchief,
in her bag. 'It's all my fault,' she dabbed at her eyes. 'I
know it's all my fault. '
Bond at once relented. He put out a bandaged hand
and laid it on her knee.
'It's all right, Vesper. I'm sorry I was so rough. It's
just that I was jealous of you in the sunshine while I'm
stuck here. Directly I'm well enough I'll come with you,
and you must show me your beach. Of course it's just
what I want. It'll be wonderful to get out again.'
She pressed his hand and stood up and walked over to
the window. After a moment she busied herself with her
makeup. Then she came back to the bed.
Bond looked at her tenderly. Like all harsh, cold
men, he was easily tipped over into sentiment. She was
very beautiful, and he felt warm towards her. He
decided to make his questions as easy as possible.
He gave her a cigarette, and for a time they talked of
the visit of Head of S. and of the reactions in London to
the rout of LeChiffre. ;
From what she said it was clear that the final object of
the plan had been more than fulfilled. The story was
still being splashed all over the world, and correspon-
dents of most of the English and American papers had
been at Royale trying to trace the Jamaican millionaire
who had defeated Le Chiffre at the tables. They had got
on to Vesper, but she had covered up well. Her story
was that Bond had told her he was going on to Cannes
and Monte Carlo to gamble'with his winnings. The hunt
had moved down to the South of France. Mathis and
the police had obliterated all other traces, and the
papers were forced to concentrate on the Strasbourg
angles and the chaos in the ranks of the French com-
'By the way, Vesper,' said Bond after a time, 'what
really happened \to you after you left me in the night
club? All I saw was the actual kidnapping.' He told her
briefly of the scene outside the Casino.
'I'm afraid I must have lost my head,' said Vesper,
avoiding Bond's eyes. 'When I couldn't see Mathis
anywhere in the entrance hall I went outside, and the
commissionaire asked me if I was Miss Lynd, and then
told me the man who had sent in the note was waiting in
a car down on the right of the steps. Somehow I wasn't
particularly surprised. I'd only known Mathis for a day
or two, and I didn't know how he worked, so I just
walked down towards the car. It was away on the right
and more or less in the shadows. Just as I was coming
up to it, Le Chiffre's two men jumped out from behind
one of the other cars in the row and simply scooped my
skirt over my head. '
'It sounds a childish trick,'. she looked penitently at
Bond, 'but it's really frightfully effective. One's a com-
plete prisoner and although I screamed I don't expect
any sound came out from under my skirt. I kicked out
as hard as I could; but that was no use, as I couldn't see,
and my arms were absolutely helpless. I was just a
trussed chicken. They picked me up between them and
shoved me into the back of the car. I went on struggling,
of course, and when thenar started and while they were
trying to tie a rope or something around the top of my
skirt over my head, I managed to get an arm free and
throw my bag through the window. I hope it was some
'It was really instinctive. I just thought you'd have no
idea what had happened to me, and I was terrified. I did
the first thing I could think of.'
Bond knew that it was him they had been after and
that, if Vesper hadn't thrown her bag out, they would
probably have thrown it out themselves directly they
saw him appear on the steps. ,
'It certainly helped,' said Bond. 'But why didn't you
make any sign when they finally got me after, the" car
smash, when I spoke to you? I was dreadfully worried. I
thought they might have knocked you out or
'I'm afraid I must have been unconscious,' said
Vesper. 1 'I fainted once from lack of air, and when I
came to they had cut a hole in front of my face. I must
have fainted again. I don't remember much until we got
to the villa. I really only gathered you had been captured
when I heard you try and come after me in the passage. '
'And they didn't touch you?' asked. Bond. 'They
didn't try and mess about with you while I was being
'No,' said Vesper. 'They just left me in an armchair.
They drank and played cards— belotte, I think it was
from what I heard — and then they went to sleep. I sup-
pose that was how SMERSH got them. They bound my
legs and put me on a chair in a corner facing the wall,
and I saw nothing of SMERSH. I heard some odd noises.
I expect they woke me up. And then what sounded like
one of them falling off his chair. Then there were some
soft footsteps, and a door closed; and then nothing hap-
pened until Mathis and the police burst in hours later. I
slept most of the time. I had no idea what had happened
to you, but'— she faltered— 'I did once hear a terrible
scream. It sounded very far away. At least, I think it
must have been a scream. At the time I thought it might
have been a nightmare.'
.■'I'm afraid that must have been me,' said Bond.
Vesper, put out a hand and touched one of his. Her
eyes filled with tears.
'It's horrible,' she said. 'The things they did to you.
And it was all my fault. If only . . . '
She buried her face in her hands.
'That's all right,' said Bond comfortingly. 'It's no
good crying over spilt milk. It's all over now, and thank
heavens they let you alone:' He patted her knee. 'They
were going to start on you when they'd got me really
softened up. We've got a lot to thank SMERSH for. Now,
come on, let's forget about it. It certainly wasn't
anything to do with you. Anybody could have fallen for
that note. Anyway, it*s all water over the dam,' he
Vesper looked at him gratefully through her tears.
'You really promise?' she asked. 'I thought you would
never forgive me. I . . . I'll try and make it up to you.
Somehow.' She looked at him.
Somehow? thought Bond to himself. He looked at
her. She was smiling at him. He smiled back,
'You'd better look out,' he said. 'I may hold you to
She looked into his eyes and said nothing, but the
enigmatic challenge was back. She pressed his hand and
rose. 'A promise is a promise,' she said.
This time they both knew what the promise was.
She picked up her bag from the bed and walked to the
'Shall I come tomorrow?? She looked at Bond
'Yes, please, Vesper,' said Bond. 'I'd like that. Please
do some more exploring. It will be fun to think of what
we can do when I get up. Will you think of some
'Yes,' said Vesper. 'Please get well quickly.'
They gazed at each other for a second. Then she went
out and closed the door, and Bond listened until the
sound of her footsteps had died away.
The Hastening Saloon
From that day Bond' s recovery was rapid .
He sat up in bed and wrote his report to M. He made
light of what he still considered amateurish behaviour
on the part of Vesper. By juggling with the emphasis, he
made the kidnapping sound much more Machiavellian
than it had been. He praised Vesper's coolness and com-
posure throughout the whole episode without saying „
that he had found some of her actions unaccountable.
Every day Vesper came to see him, and he looked for-
ward to these visits with excitement. She talked happily
of her adventures of the day before, her explorations
down the coast, and the restaurants where she had
eaten. She had made friends with the chief of police and
with one of the directors of the Casino, and it was they
who took her out in the evening and occasionally lent
her a car during the day. She kept an eye on the repairs
to the Bentley which had been towed down to coach-
builders at Rouen, and she even arranged for some new
clothes to be sent out from Bond's London flat.
Nothing survived from his original wardrobe. Every
stitch had been cut to ribbons in the search for the forty
The Le Chiffre affair was never mentioned between
them. She occasionally told Bond amusing stories of
Head of S.'s office. She had apparently transferred
there from the W.R.N. S. And he told her of some of his
adventures in the Service.
He found he could speak to her easily, and he was
With most women his manner was a mixture of
taciturnity and passion. The lengthy approaches to a
seduction bored him almost as much as the subsequent
mess of disentanglement. He found something grisly in
the inevitability of the pattern of each affair. The con-
ventional parabola — sentiment, the touch of the hand,
the kiss, the passionate kiss, the feel of the body, the
climax in the bed, then more bed, then less bed, then the
boredom, the tears, and the final bitterness— was to him
shameful and hypocritical. Even more he shunned the
mise-en-scene for each of these acts in the play — the
meeting at a party, the restaurant, the taxi, his flat, her
flat, then the week-end by the sea, then the flats again,
then the furtive alibis and the final angry farewell on
some doorstep in the rain.
But with Vesper there could be none of this.
In the dull room and the boredom of his treatment
her presence was each day an oasis of pleasure,
something to look forward to. In their talk there was
nothing but companionship with a distant undertone of
passion. In the background there was the unspoken zest
of the promise which, in due course and in their own
time, would be met. Over all there brooded the shadow
of his injuries and the tantalus of their slow healing.
Whether Bond liked it or not, the branch had already
escaped his knife and was ready to burst into flower.
With enjoyable steps Bond recovered. He was
allowed up. Then he was allowed to sit in the garden.
THE HASTENING SALOON
Then he could go for a short walk, then for a long drive.
And then the afternoon came when the doctor appeared
on a flying visit from Paris and pronounced him well
again. His clothes were brought round by Vesper,
farewells were exchanged with the nurses, and a hired
car drove them away.
It was three weeks from the day when he had been on
the edge of death, and how it was July and the hot
summer shimmered down the coast and out at sea. Bond
clasped the moment to him.
Their destination was to be a surprise for him. He had
not wanted to go back to one of the big hotels in Royale,
and Vesper said she would find somewhere away from
the town. But she insisted on being mysterious about it
and only said that she had found a place he would like.
He was happy to be in her hands, but he covered up his
surrender by referring to their destination as 'Trou sur
Mer' (she admitted it was by the sea), and lauding the
rustic delights of outside lavatories, bedbugs, and
Their drive was spoiled by a curious incident.
While they followed the coast-road in the direction of
Les Noctambules, Bond described to her his wild chase
in the Bentley, finally pointing out the curve he had
taken before the crash and the exact place where the
vicious carpet of spikes had been laid. He slowed the car
down and leant out to show her the deep cuts in, the tar-
mac made by the rims of the wheels and the broken
branches in the hedge and the patch of oil where the car
had come to rest.
But all the time she was distrait and fidgety and com-
mented only in monosyllables. Once or twice he caught
her glancing in the driving-mirror; but when he had a
chartce to look back through the rear window they had
just rounded a bend, and he could see nothing.
Finally he took her hand. -
'Something's on your mind, Vesper,' he said. '
She gave him a taut, bright smile. 'It's nothing. Ab-
solutely nothing. I had a silly idea We were being'
followed. It's just nerves, I suppose. This road is full of
Under cover of a short laugh she looked back again.
'Look. ' There was an edge of panic in her voice.
Obediently Bond turned his head. Sure enough, a "
quarter of a mile away, a black saloon was coming after '
them at a good pace.
'We can't be the only people using this road,' he said.
'Anyway, who wants to follow us? We've done nothing
wrong.' He patted her hand. 'It's a middle-aged com-
mercial traveller in car-polish on his way to Le Havre.
He's probably thinking of his lunch and his mistress in
Paris. Really, Vesper, you mustn't think evil of the in-
'I expect you're right,' she said nervously. 'Anyway,
we're nearly there.'
She relapsed into silence and gazed out of the
Bond could still feel her tenseness. He smiled to him-
self at what he took to be simply a hangover from their
recent adventures. But he decided to humour her, and
when they came to a small lane leading towards the sea
and slowed to turn down it, he told the driver to stop
directly they were off the main road.
Hidden by the tall hedge, they watched together
through the rear window.
Through the quiet hum of summer noises they could
hear the car approaching. Vesper dug her fingers into
his arm. The pace of the car did not alter as it ap-
proached their hiding-place and they had only a brief
glimpse of a man's profile as a black saloon tore by.
It was true that he seemed to glance quickly towards
them, but above them in the hedge there was a gaily
painted sign point down the lane announcing
'L'Auberge du Fruit Defendu, crustaces, fritures.' It
THE HASTENING SALOON
was obvious to Bond that it was this that had caught the
driver's eye. ^
As the rattle of the car's exhaust diminished down the
road, Vesper sank back into her corner. Her face was
'He looked at us,' she said. 'I told you so. I knew we
were being followed. Now they know where we are.'
Bond could not contain his impatience. 'Bunkum, ' he
said. 'He was looking at that sign.' He pointed it out to
She looked slightly relieved. 'Do you really think so?'
she asked. 'Yes. I see. Of course, you must be right.
Come on. I'm sorry to be so stupid. I don't know what
came over me.'
She leant forward and talked to the driver through the
partition, and the car moved on. She sank back and
turned a bright face towards Bond. The colour had
almost come back to her cheeks. 'I really am sorry. It's
just that — it's that I can't believe everything's over and
there's no one to be frightened of any more.' She
pressed his hand. 'You must think me very stupid.'
'Of course not,' said Bond. 'But really nobody could
be interested in us now. Forget it all. The whole job's
finished, wiped up. This is our holiday, and there's not
a cloud in the sky. Is there? ' he persisted.
'No, of course not.' She shook herself slightly. 'I'm
mad. Now we'll be there in a second. I do hope you're
going to like it.'
They both leant forward. Animation was back in her
face, and the incident left only the smallest question
mark hanging in the air. Even that faded as they came
through the dunes and saw the sea and the modest little
inn amongst the pines.
'It's not very grand, I'm afraid,' said Vesper. ;But it's
very clean, and the food's wonderful.' She looked at
him anxiously. -
She need not have worried. Bond loved the place at
first sight — the terrace leading almost to the high-tide
mark, the low two-storied house With gay brick-red
awnings over the windows, and the crescent-shaped bay
of blue water and golden sand. How many times in his
life would he have given anything to have turned off a
main road to find a lost corner like this where he could
let the world go by and live in the sea from dawn to
dusk! And now he was to have a whole week of this.
And of Vesper. In his mind he fingered the necklace of
the days to come.
They drew up in the courtyard behind the house, and
the proprietor and his wife came out to greet them.
Monsieur Versoix was a middle-aged man with one
arm. The other he had lost fighting with the Free French
in Madagascar. He was a friend of the chief of police of
Royale, and it was the Commissaire who had suggested
the place to Vesper and had spoken to the proprietor on
the telephone. As a result, nothing was going to be too
good for them.
Madame Versoix had been interrupted in the middle
of preparing dinner. She wore an apron and held a
wooden spoon in one hand. She was younger than her
husband, chubby and handsome and warm-eyed. In-
stinctively Bond guessed that they had no children and
that they gave their thwarted affection to their friends
and some regular customers, and probably to some pets.
He thought that their life was probably something of a
struggle, and that the inn must be very lonely in win-
tertime with the big seas and the noise of the wind in the
The proprietor showed them to their rooms.
Vesper's was a double room, and Bond was next
door, at the corner of the house, with one window
looking out to sea and another with a view of the distant
arm of the bay. There was a bathroom between them.
Everything was spotless, and sparsely comfortable.
The proprietor was pleased when they both showed
their delight. He said that dinner would be at seven-
THE HASTENING SALOON
thirty and that Madame la patrOnne was preparing
broiled lobsters with melted butter. He was sorry that
they were so quiet just then. It was Tuesday. There
would be more people at the week-end. The season had
not been good. Generally they had plenty of English
people staying, but times were difficult over there and
the English just came for a week-end at Royale and then
went home after losing their money at the Casino. It was
not like the old days. He shrugged his shoulders
philosophically. But then no day was like the day
before, and no century like the previous one, and . . .
'Quite so, ' said Bond.
Tide of Passion
They were talking on the threshold of Vesper's
room. When the proprietor left them, Bond pushed her
inside and closed the door. Then he put his hands on her
shoulders and kissed her on both cheeks.
'This is heaven, ' he said.
Then he saw that her eyes were shining. Her hands
came up and rested on his forearms. He stepped right up
against her, and his arms dropped round her waist. Her
head went back, and her mouth opened beneath his.
'My darling,' he said. He plunged his mouth down
onto hers and felt her respond, shyly at first, then more
passionately. His hand slipped down her back and
pressed her body fiercely to his. Panting, she slipped her
mouth away and they clung together; he brushed her ear
with his lips and felt the firm warmth of her breasts
against him. Then he reached up and seized her hair and
bent her head back until he could kiss her again. She
pushed him away and sank back exhausted on to the
bed. For a moment they looked at each other hungrily.
TIDE OF PASSION
'I'm sorry, Vesper,' he said. 'I didn't mean to then.'
• She shook her head, dumb with the storm which had
passed through her.
He came and sat beside her, and they looked at each
other with lingering tenderness as the tide of passion
ebbed in their veins.
She leant over and kissed him on the corner of the
mouth, then she brushed the black comma of hair back
from his damp forehead. ,
'My darling,' she said. 'Give me a cigarette. I don't
know where my bag is.' She looked vaguely round the
' Bond lit one for her and put it between her lips. She
took a deep lungful of smoke and let it pour out through
her mouth with a slow sigh.
Bond put his arm round her, but she got up and
walked over to the window. She stood there with her
back to him.
Bond looked down at his hands and saw they were
'It's going to take some time to get ready for dinner,'
said Vesper, still not looking at him. 'Why don't you go
and bathe? I'll unpack for you.'
Bond left the bed and came and stood close against
her. He put his arms round her and put a hand over each
breast. They filled his hands and the nipples were hard
against his fingers. She put her hands over his and
pressed them into her, but she still looked away from
him out of the window.
'Not now,' she said in a low voice
Bond bent and burrowed his lips into the nape of her
neck. For a moment he strained her hard to him, then he
let her go.
'All right, Vesper,' he said.
He walked over to the door and looked back. She had
not moved. For some reason he thought she was crying.
He took a step towards her and then realized that there
was nothing to say between them then.
156 CASINO ROYALE
'My love,' he said.
Then he went out and shut the door.
Bond walked along to his room and sat down on the
bed. He felt weak from the passion which had swept
through his body. He was torn between the desire to fall
back full-length on the bed and his longing to be cooled
and revived by the sea. He played with the choice for a
moment, then he went over to his suitcase and took out
white linen bathing-trunks and a dark blue pyjama-suit.
Bond had always disliked pyjamas and had slept
naked until in Hong Kong at the end of the war he came
across the perfect compromise. This was a pyjama-coat
which came almost down to the knees. It had no
buttons, but there was a loose belt round the waist. The
sleeves were wide and short, ending just above the
elbow. The result was cool and comfortable, and now
when he slipped the coat on over his trunks, all his
bruises and scars were hidden except the thin white
bracelets on wrists and ankles and the mark of SMERSH
on his right hand. i
He slipped his feet into a pair of dark-blue leather
sandals and went downstairs and out of the house and
across the terrace to the beach. As he passed across the
front of the house he thought of Vesper; but he
refrained from looking up to see if she was still standing
at the window. If she saw him, she gave no sign.
He walked along the waterline on the hard golden
sand until he was out of sight of the inn. Then he threw
off his pyjama-coat .and took a short run and a quick
flat dive into the small waves. The beach shelved quickly
and he kept under water as long as he could, swimming
with powerful strokes and feeling the soft coolness all
over him. Then he surfaced and brushed the hair out of
his eyes. It was nearly seven, and the sun had lost much
of its heat. Before long it would sink beneath the further
arm of the bay; but now it was straight in his eyes, and
he turned on his back and swam away from it so that he
could keep it with him as long as possible.
TIDE OF PASSION
When he came ashore nearly a mile down the bay the
shadows had already engulfed his distant pyjamas; but
he knew he had time to lie on the hard sand and dry
before the tide of dusk reached him.
He took off his bathing trunks and looked down at
his body. There were only a few traces left of his in-
juries. He shrugged his shoulders and lay down with his
limbs spread out in a star and gazed up at the empty
blue sky and thought of Vesper.
His feelings for her were confused, and he was im-
patient with the confusion. They had been so simple. He
had intended to sleep with her as soon as he could,
because he desired her and also because — he admitted it
to himself— he wanted coldly to put the repairs to his
body to the final test. He thought they would sleep
together for a few days and then he might see something
of her in London. Then would come the inevitable
disengagement which would be all the easier because of
their positions in the Service. If it was not easy, he could
go off on an assignment abroad or— which was also in
his mind — he could resign and travel to different parts
of the world as he had always wanted.
But somehow she had crept under his skin, and over
the last two weeks his feelings had gradually changed.
He found her companionship easy and unexacting.
There was something enigmatic about her which was a
constant stimulus. She gave little of her real personality
away, and he felt that, however long they were together,
there would always be a private room inside her which
he could never invade. She was thoughtful and full of
consideration without being slavish and without com-
promising her arrogant spirit. And now he knew that
she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the
conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in
her, would each time have the tang of rape. Loving her
physically would each time be a thrilling voyage without
the anticlimax of arrival. She would surrender herself
avidly, he thought, and greedily enjoy all the intimacies
158 . -| CASINO ROYALE .
of the bed without ever allowing herself to be possessed.
Naked, Bond lay and Jxied to push away the con-
clusions he read in the sky. He turned his head and
looked down the beach and saw that the shadows of the
headland were almost reaching for him.
He stood up and brushed off as much of the sand as
he could reach. He reflected that he would have a bath
when he got in and he' absent-mindedly picked up his
trunks and started walking back along the beach. It was
only when he reached his pyjama-coat and bent to pick
it up that he realized he was still naked. Without
bothering about the trunks, he slipped on the light coat
and walked on to the hotel.
At that moment his mind was made up.
When he got back to his room he was touched to
find all his belongings put away and in the bathroom his
toothbrush and shaving things neatly arranged at one
end of the glass shelf over the washbasin. At the other
end were Vesper's toothbrush and one or two small
bottles and a jar of face-cream.
He glanced at the bottles and was surprised to see that
one contained Nembutal sleeping pills. Perhaps her
nerves had been more shaken by the events at the villa
than he had imagined.
The bath had been filled for him, and there was a new
flask of some expensive pine bath-essence on a chair
beside it with his towel.
'Vesper,' he called.
'You really are the limit. You make me feel like an ex-
'I was told to look after you. I'm only doing what I
'Darling, the bath's absolutely right. Will you marry \
She snorted. 'You need a slave, not a wife. '
'I want you.'
'Well, I want my lobster and champagne, so hurry
'AH right, all right, ' said Bond.
. He dried himself and dressed in a white shirt and dark
blue slacks. He hoped that she would be dressed as
simply, and he was pleased when, without knocking, she
appeared in the doorway wearing a blue linen shirt
which had faded to the colour of her eyes and a dark red
skirt in pleated cotton.
'I couldn't wait. I was famished. My room's over the
kitchen, and I've been tortured by the wonderful
He came over and put his arm round her.
She took his hand, and together they went downstairs
and out on to the terrace where their table had been laid
in the light cast by the empty dining-room.
The champagne which Bond had ordered on their
arrival stood in a plated wine-cooler beside their table,
and Bond poured out two full glasses. Vesper busied
herself with a delicious homemade liver pate and helped
them both to the crisp French bread and the thick
squares of deep yellow butter set in chips of ice.
They looked at each other and drank deeply, and
Bond filled their glasses again to the rim.
While they ate Bond told her of his bathe, and they
talked of what they would do in the morning. All
through the meal 7 they left unspoken their feelings for
each other, but in Vesper's eyes as much as in Bond's
there was excited anticipation of the night. They let their
hands and feet touch from time to time as if to ease the
tension in their bodies.
When the lobster had come and gone and the second
bottle of champagne was half empty and they had just
ladled thick cream over their fraises des bois, Vesper
gave a deep sigh of contentment.
'I'm behaving like a pig/ she said happily. 'You
always give me all the things I like best. I've never been
so spoiled before.' She gazed across the terrace at the
moonlit bay. 'I wish I deserved it.' Her voice had a wry
'What do you mean?' asked Bond surprised. ,
'Oh, I don't know. I suppose people get what they
deserve, so perhaps I do deserve it.'
She looked at him and smiled. Her eyes narrowed
'You really don't know much about me,' she said
Bond was surprised by the undertone of seriousness in
'Quite enough,' he said laughing. 'All I need until
tomorrow and the next day and the next. You don't'
know much about me for the matter of that.' He poured
out more champagne.
. Vesper looked at him thoughtfully.
'People are islands,' she said. 'They don't really
touch. However close they are, they're really quite
separate. Even if they've been married for fifty years. '
Bond thought with dismay that she must be going into
a 'vin triste.' Tdo much champagne had made her
melancholy. But suddenly she gave a happy laugh. ,
' 'Don't look so worried.' She leaned forward and put
her hand over his. 'I was only being sentimental.
Anyway, my island feels very close to your island
tonight.' She took a sip of champagne. '
Bond laughed, relieved. 'Let's join up and make a
peninsula,' he said. 'Now, directly we've finished the
'No, ' she said, flirting^ 'I must have coffee. '
'And brandy,' countered Bond. : '
The small shadow had passed. The second small
shadow. This too left a tiny question-mark hanging in
the air. It quickly dissolved as warmth and intimacy en-
closed them again.
When they had had their coffee and Bond was sipping
his brandy, Vesper picked up her bag and came and
stood behind him.
'I'm tired,' she said, resting a hand on his shoulder.
He reached up and held it there, and they stayed
motionless for a moment. She bent down and lightly
brushed his hair with her lips. Then she was gone, and a
few seconds later the light came on in her room.
Bond smoked and waited until it had gone out. Then
he followed her, pausing only to say good night to the
proprietor and his wife and thank them for the dinner.
They exchanged compliments, and he went upstairs.
It was only half-past nine when he stepped into her
room from the bathroom and closed the door behind
The moonlight shone through the half-closed shutters
and lapped at the secret shadows in the snow of her
body on the broad bed.
Bond awoke in his own room at dawn, and for a time
he lay and stroked his memories.
Then he got quietly out of bed, and in his pyjama-
coat he crept past Vesper's door and out of the house to
The sea was smooth and quiet in the sunrise. The
small pink waves idly licked the sand. It was cold, but he
took off his jacket and wandered naked along the edge
of the sea to the point where he had bathed the evening
before, then he walked slowly and deliberately into the
water until it was just below his chin. He took his feet
off the bottom and sank, holding his nose with one
hand and shutting his eyes, feeling the cold water comb
his body and his hair.
The mirror of the bay was unbroken except where it
seemed a fish had jumped. Under the water he imagined
the tranquil scene and wished *th«t Vesper could' just
then come through the pines .and be astonished to see
him suddenly erupt from the empty seascape.
When after a full minute he came to the surface in a
froth of spray, he was disappointed. There was no one
in sight. For a time he swam and drifted, and then when
the sun seemed hot enough, he came in to the beach and
lay on his back and revelled in the body which the night
had given back to him.
As on the evening before, he stared up into the empty
sky and saw the same answer there.
After a while he rose and walked back slowly along
the beach to his pyjama-coat.
That day he would ask Vesper to marry him. He was
quite certain. It was only a question of choosing the
As he walked quietly from the terrace into the
half^-darkness of the still shuttered dining-room, he was
surprised to see Vesper emerge from the glass-fronted
telephone booth near the front door and softly turn up
the stairs towards their rooms.
'Vesper,' he called, thinking she must have had some
urgent message which might concern them both.
She turned quickly, a hand up to her mouth.
For a moment longer than necessary she stared at
him, her eyes wide.
'What is it, darling?' he asked, vaguely troubled and
fearing some crisis in their lives.
'Oh,' she said breathlessly, 'you made me jump. It
was only ... I was just telephoning to Mathis. To
Mathis,' she repeated. 'I wondered if he could get me
another frock. You know, from that girl-friend I told
you about. The vendeuse. You see' — she talked quickly,
her words coming out in a persuasive jumble — 'I've
really got nothing to wear, I thought I'd catch him at
home before he went to the office. I don't know my
friend's telephone number, and I thought it would be a
surprise for you. I didn't want you to hear me moving
and wake you up. Is the water nice? Have you bathed?
You ought to have waited for me. '
'It's wonderful,' said Bond, deciding to relieve her
mind, though irritated with her obvious guilt over this
childish mystery. 'You must go in, and then we'll have
breakfast on the terrace. I'm ravenous. I'm sorry I
made you jump. I was just startled to see anyone about
at this hour of the morning."
He put his arm round her; but she disengaged herself,
and moved quickly on up the stairs. :
'It was such a surprise to see you,' she said, trying to
cover the incident up with a light touch.
'You looked like, a ghost, a drowned man, with the
hair down over your eyes like;: that.' She laughed
harshly. Hearing the harshness, she turned the laugh
into a cough. ; .
'I hope I haven't caught cold/ she said.
She kept on patching up the edifice of her deceit until
Bond wanted to spank her and tell her to relax and tell
the truth. Instead he just gave her a reassuring pat on
the back outside her room and told her to hurry up and
have her bathe.
Then he went on to his room. *
That was the end of the integrity of their love. The
succeeding days were a shambles of falseness and
hypocrisy, mingled with her tears and moments of
animal passion to which she abandoned herself with
greed made indecent by the hollowness of their days.
Several times Bond tried to break down the dreadful
walls of mistrust. Again and again he brought Up the
subject of the telephone call; but she obstinately
bolstered Up her story with embellishments which Bond
knew she had thought out afterwards. She even accused
Bond of thinking she had another lover.
These scenes always ended in her bitter tears and in
moments almost of hysteria.
Each day the atmosphere became more hateful .
It seemed fantastic to Bond that human relationships
could collapse into dust overnight, and he searched his
mind again and again for a reason.
He felt that Vesper was just as horrified as he was,
and, if anything, her misery seemed greater than his.
But the mystery of the telephone conversation which
Vesper angrily, almost fearfully it seemed to Bond,
refused to explain was a shadow which grew darker with
other small mysteries and reticences.
Already at luncheon on that day things got worse.
After a breakfast which was an effort for both of
them, Vesper said she had a headache and would stay in
her room out of the sun. Bond took a book and walked
for miles down the beach. By the time he returned he
had argued to himself that they would be able to sort the
problem out over lunch.
Directly they sat down, he apologized gaily for having
startled her at the telephone booth and then he
dismissed the subject and went on to describe what he
had seen on his walk. But Vesper was distrait and com-
mented only in monosyllables. She toyed With her food,
and she avoided Bond's eyes and gazed past him with an
air of preoccupation.
When she had failed once or twice to respond to some
conversational gambit or other, Bond also relapsed into
silence and occupied himself with his own gloomy
All of a sudden she stiffened. Her fork fell with a
clatter on to the edge of her plate and then noisily off
the table on to the terrace.
Bond looked up. She had gone as white as a sheet,
and she was looking over his shoulder with terror in her
Bond turned his head and saw that a man had just
taken his place at a table on the opposite side of the
'BLACK-PATCH* - ■ 1j37
terrace, well away from them. He seemed ordinary
enough, perhaps rather sombrely dressed; but in his first
quick glance Bond put him down as some businessman
on his way along the coast who had just happened on
the inn or had picked it out of the Michelin.
'What is it, darling? ' he asked anxiously.
Vesper's eyes never moved from the distant figure.
'It's the man in the car,' she said in a stifled voice.
'The man who was following us. I know it is. '
Bond looked again over his shoulder. The patron was
discussing the menu with the new customer. It was a
perfectly normal scene. They exchanged smiles over
some item on the menu and apparently agreed that it
would suit, for the patron took the card and with, Bond
guessed, a final exchange about the wine, withdrew.
The man seemed to realize that he was being watched.
He looked up and gazed incuriously at them for a
moment. Then he reached for a brief-case on the chair
beside him, extracted a newspaper, and started to read
it, his elbows propped up on the table.
When the man had turned his face towards them,
Bond noticed that he had a black patch over one eye. It
was not tied with a tape across, the eye, but screwed in
like a monocle. Otherwise he seemed a friendly middle-
aged man, with dark brown hair brushed straight back
and, as Bond had seen while he was talking to the
patron, particularly large, white teeth.
He turned back to Vesper. 'Really, darling. He looks
very innocent. Are you sure he's the same man? We
can' t expect to have this place entirely to ourselves. '
Vesper's face was still a white mask. She was clutching
the edge of the table with both hands. He thought she
was going to faint and almost rose to come round to
her, but she made a gesture to stop him. Then she
reached for a glass of wine and took a deep draught.
The glass rattled on her teeth, and she brought up her
other hand to help. Then she put the glass down.
She looked at him with dull eyes.
'I know it's the same.'
He tried to reason with her, but she paid no attention.
After glancing once or twice over his shoulder with eyes
that held a curious submissiveness, she said that her
headache was still bad and that she would spend the
afternoon in her room. She left the table and walked in-
doors without a backward glance.
Bond was determined to set her mind at rest. He
ordered coffee to be brought to the table, and then he
rose and walked swiftly through to the courtyard. The
black Peugeot which stood there might indeed have
been the saloon they had seen, but it might equally have
been one of a million others on the French roads. He
took a quick glance inside, but the interior, was empty
and when he tried the boot, it was locked. He made a
note of the Paris number-plate; then he went quickly to
the lavatory adjoining the dining-room, pulled the
chain, and walked out on to the terrace.
The man was eating and didn't look up.
Bond sat down in Vesper's chair so that he could
watch the other table. .
A few minutes later the man asked for the bill, paid it,
andieft. Bond heard the Peugeot start up, and soon the
noise of its exhaust had disappeared in the direction of
the road to Royale.
When the patron came back to his table, Bond ex-
plained that Madame had unfortunately a slight touch
of sunstroke. After the patron had expressed his regret
and enlarged on the dangers of going out of doors in
almost any weather, Bond casually asked about the
other customer. 'He reminds me of a friend who also
lost an eye. They wear similar black patches.'
The patron answered that the man was a stranger. He
had been pleased with his lunch and had said that he
would be passing that way again in a day or two and
would take another meal at the auberge. Apparently he
was Swiss, which could also be seen from his accent. He
was a traveller in watches. It was shocking to have only
one eye. The strain of keeping that patch in place all day
long. He supposed one got used to it.
'It is indeed very sad,' said Bond. 'You also have been
unlucky,' he gestured to the proprietor's empty sleeve.
'I myself was very fortunate. '
For a time they talked about the war. Then Bond
'By the way,' he said, 'Madame had an early
telephone call which I must remember to pay for. Paris.
An Elysee number, I think,' he added, remembering
that that was Mathis's exchange.
'Thank you, monsieur, but the matter is regulated. I
was speaking to Royale this morning and the exchange
mentioned that one of my guests had put through a call
to Paris and that there had been no answer. They
wanted to know if Madame would like the call kept in.
I'm afraid the matter escaped my mind. Perhaps Mon-
sieur would mention it to Madame. But, let me see, it
was an Invalides number the exchange referred to. '
'Sleep Well, My Darling'
The next two days were much the same.
On the fourth day of their stay Vesper went off early
to Royale. A taxi came and fetched her and brought her
back. She said she needed some medicine.
That night she made a special effort to be gay. She
drank a lot, and when they went upstairs she led him
into her bedroom and made passionate love to him.
Bond's body responded; but afterwards she cried bit-
terly into her pillow, and Bond went to his room in grim
He could hardly sleep, and in the early hours he heard
her door open softly. Some small sounds came from
downstairs. He was sure she was in the telephone-booth.
Very soon he heard her door softly close, and he guessed
that again there had been no reply from Paris.
This was Saturday.
On Sunday the man with the black patch was back
again. Bond knew it, directly he looked up from his
lunch and saw her face. He had told her all that the
'SLEEP WELL, MY DARLING
patron had told him, withholding only the man's
statement that he might be back. He had thought it
would worry her.
He had also telephoned Mathis in Paris and checked
on the Peugeot. It had been hired from a respectable
firm two weeks before. The customer had had a Swiss
triptique. His name was Adoiph Gettler. He had given a
bank in Zurich as his address.
Mathis had got on to the Swiss police. Yes, the bank
had an account in his name. It was little used- Herr
Gettler was understood to be connected with the watch
industry. Inquiries could be pursued if there was a
charge against him.
Vesper had shrugged her shoulders at the in-
This time when the man appeared she left her lunch in
the middle and went straight up to her room.
Bond made up his mind. When he had finished, he
followed her. Both her doors were locked, and when he
made her let him in he saw that she had been sitting in
the shadows by the window— watching, he presumed.
Her face was of cold stone. He led her to the bed and
drew her down beside him. They sat stiffly, like people
in a railway carriage. '
'Vesper,' he said, holding her cold hands in his, 'we
can't go on like this. We must finish with it. We are tor-
turing each other, and there is only one way of stopping
it. Either you must tell me what all this is about or we
must leave. At once.'
She said nothing, and her hands were lifeless in his.
'My darling,' he said. 'Won't you tell me? Do you
know, that first morning I was coming back to ask you
to marry me. Can't we go back to the beginning again?
What is this dreadful nightmare that is killing us? '
At first she said nothing, then a tear rolled slowly
down her cheek.
'You mean you would have married me?'
172 CASINO ROYALE \
'Oh, my God!' she cried. 'My God!' She turned and
clutched him, pressing her face against his chest.
He held her closely to him. 'Tell me, my love,' he j
said. 'Tell me what's hurting you.'
Her sobs became quieter. '•■
'Leave me for a little,' she said. A new note had come
' into her voice: a note of resignation. 'Let me think for a
little.' She kissed his face and held it between her hands.
She looked at him with yearning. 'Darling, I'm trying to
do what's best for us. Please believe me. But it's
terrible. I'm in a frightful . . .' She wept again, clutching
him like a child with nightmares.
He soothed her, stroking the long black hair and
kissing her softly.
'Go away now,' she said. 'I must have time to think.
We've got to do something.'
She took his handkerchief and dried her eyes.
She led him to the door, and there they held tightly to
each other. Then he kissed her again, and she shut the
door behind him.
That evening most of the gayness and intimacy of
their first night came back. She was excited, and some
of her laughter sounded brittle;, but Bond was deter-
mined to fall in with her new mood, and it was only at
the end of dinner that he had made a passing remark
which made her pause.
She put her hand over his.
'Don't talk about it now,' she said. 'Forget it now.
It's all past. I'll tell you about it in the morning.'
She looked at him, and suddenly her eyes were full of
tears. She found a handkerchief in her bag and dabbed
'Give me some more champagne,' she said. She gave
a queer little laugh. 'I want a lot more. You drink much
more than me. It's not fair.'
They sat and drank together until the bottle was
finished. Then she got to her feet. She knocked against
her chair and giggled.
'SLEEP WELL, MY DARLING*
'I do believe I'm tight,' she said. 'How disgraceful!
Please, James, don't be ashamed of me. I do so want to
be gay. And I am gay.'
She stood behind him and ran her fingers through his
'Come up quickly, ' she said.
She blew a kiss at him and was gone.
For two hours they made slow, sweet love in a mood
of happy passion which, the day before, Bond would
never have thought they could regain. The barriers of
self-consciousness and mistrust seemed to have
vanished; the words they spoke to each other were in-
nocent and true again, and there was no shadow be-
'You must go now,' said Vesper when Bond had slept
for a while in her arms.
As if to take back her words she held him more
closely to her, murmuring endearments and pressing her
body down the whole length of his.
When he finally rose and bent to smooth back her
hair and finally kiss her eyes and her mouth good night,
she reached out and turned on the light.
'Look at me,' she said, 'and let me look at you.'
He knelt beside her.
She examined every line of his face as if she were
seeing him for the first time. Then she reached up and
put an arm round his neck. Her deep blue -eyes were
swimming with tears as she drew his head slowly to-
wards her and kissed him gently on the lips. Then she let
him go and turned off the light.
'Good night, my dearest love, ' she said.
Bond bent and kissed her. He tasted the tears on her
He Went to the door and looked back.
'Sleep well, my darling,' he said. 'Don't worry,
everything's all right now. '
He closed the door softly and walked to his room with '
a full heart.
The Bleeding Heart
The patron brought him the letter in the
He burst into Bond's room, holding the envelope in
front of him as if it were on fire.
'There has been a terrible accident. Madame — '
Bond hurled himself out of bed and through the
bathroom, but the communicating door was locked. He
dashed back and through his room and down the
corridor past a shrinking, terrified maid.
Vesper's door was open. The sunlight through the
shutters lit up the room. Only her black hair showed
aboye the sheet, and her body under the bedclothes was
straight and moulded like a stone effigy on a tomb.
Bond fell on his knees beside her and drew back the
She was asleep. She must be. Her 'eyes were closed.
There was no change in the dear face. She was just as
she would look, and yet, and yet she was so still — no
THE BLEEDING HEART
movement, no pulse, no breath. That was it. There was
Later the patron came and touched him on the
shoulder. He pointed at the empty glass on the table
beside her. There were white dregs in the bottom of it. It
stood beside her book and her cigarettes and matches
and the small pathetic litter of her mirror and lipstick
and handkerchief. And on the floor the empty bottle of
sleeping-pills, the pills Bond had seen in the bathroom
that first evening.
Bond rose to his feet and shook himself. The patron
was still holding out the letter towards him. He took it.
'Please notify the Commissaire,' said Bond. 'I will be
in my roW when he wants me. '
He walked blindly away without a backward glance.
He sat on the edge of his bed and gazed out of the
window at the peaceful sea. Then he stared dully at the
. envelope. It was addressed simply in a large round
hand, 'Pour Lui.'
The thought passed through Bond's mind that she
must have left orders to be called early, so that he would
not be the one to find her. ,
He turned the envelope over. Not long ago her warm
tongue had sealed the flap.
He gave a sudden shrug and opened it.
It was not long. After the first few words he read it
quickly, the breath coming harshly through his nostrils.
Then he threw it down on the bed as if it had been a
My darling James [the letter opened],
I love you with all my heart, and while you read
these words I hope you still love me because, now,
. with these words, this is the last moment that your
love will last. So goodbye, my sweet love, while we
still love each other. Goodbye, my darling.
I am an agent of the M. W.D. Yes, I am a
double agent for the Russians. I was taken on a
year after the war, and I have worked for them
ever since. I was in love with a Pole in the R.A.F.
Until you, I still was. You can find out who he
was. He had two D.S.O.'s, and after the war he
was trained by M. and dropped back into Poland.
They caught him, and by torturing him they found
out a lot and also about me. They came after me
and told me he could live if I would work for
them. He knew nothing of this, but he was
allowed 'to write to me. The letter arrived on the
fifteenth of each month. I found I couldn't stop. I
couldn't bear the idea of a fifteenth coming round
without his letter. It would mean that I had killed
him. I tried to give them as little as possible. You
must believe me about this. Then it came to you. I
told, them you had been given this job. at Royale,
what your cover was, and so on. That is why they
knew about you before you arrived, and why they
had time to put the microphones in. They sus-
pected Le Chiffre, but they didn't know what your
assignment was except that it was something to do
with him. That was all I told them.
Then I was told not to stand behind you in the
Casino, and to see that neither Mathis nor Leiter
did. That was why the gunman was nearly able to
shoot you. Then I had to stage that kidnapping.
You may have wondered why I was so quiet in the
night club. They didn't hurt me because I was
working for M.W.D.
But. when I found out what had been done to
you, even though it was Le Chiffre who did it and
he turned out to be a traitor, I decided I couldn't
go on. By that time I had begun to fall in love with
you. They wanted me to find out things from you
while you were recovering, but I refused. I was
controlled from Paris. I had to ring up an In-
valides number twice a day. They threatened me;
THE BLEEDING HEART
and finally they withdrew my control, and I knew
my lover in Poland would have to die. But they
were afraid I would talk, I suppose, and I got a
final warning that SMERSH would come for me if I
didn't obey them. I took no notice, I was in love
with you. Then I saw the man with the black patch
in the Splendide, and I found he had been making
inquiries about my movements. This was the day
before we came down here. I hoped I could shake
him off. I decided that we would have an affair
and I Would escape to South America from Le
Havre. I hoped I would have a baby of yours and
be able to start again somewhere. But they
followed us. You can't get away from them.
I knew it would be the end of our love if I told
you. I realized that I could either wait to be killed
by Smersh and perhaps get you killed too, or I
could kill myself.
There it is, my darling love. You can't stop me
calling you that or saying that I love you. I am
taking that with me, and the memories of you.
I can't tell yoU much to help you. The Paris
number was Invalides 55200. I never met any of
them in London. Everything was done through an
accommodation address, a news-agent's at 450
Charing Cross Place.
At our first dinner together you talked about
that man in Yugoslavia who was found guilty of
treason. He said: 'I was carried away by the gale
of the world.' That's my only excuse. That, and
for love of the man whose life I tried to save.
It's late now and I'm tired, and you're just
through two doors. But I've got to be brave. You
might save my life, but I couldn't bear the look in
your dear eyes.
My love, my love.
Bond threw the letter down. Mechanically he brushed
his fingers together. Suddenly he banged his temples
with his fists and stood up. For a moment he looked out
towards the quiet sea, then he cursed aloud, One harsh
His eyes were wet, and he dried them.
He pulled on a shirt and trousers, and with a set cold
face he walked down and shut himself in the telephone-
While he was getting through to London, he calmly
reviewed the facts of Vesper's letter. They all fitted. The
little shadows and question marks of the past four
weeks, which his instinct had noted but his mind re-
jected, all stood out now like signposts.
He saw her now only as a spy. Their love and his grief
were relegated to the boxroom of his mind. Later,
perhaps they would be dragged out, dispassionately
examined, and then bitterly thrust back with other sen-
timental baggage he would rather forget. Now he could
only think of her treachery to the Service and to her
country, and of the damage it had done. His
professional mind was completely absorbed with the
consequences — the covers which must have been blown
over the years, the codes which the enemy must have
broken, the secrets which must have leaked from the
centre of the very section devoted to penetrating the
It was ghastly. God knew how the mess would be
He ground his teeth. Suddenly Mathis's words came
back to him: 'There are plenty of really black targets
around,' and, earlier, 'What about SMERSH? I don't like
the idea of these chaps running around France killing
anyone they feel has been a traitor to their precious
Bond grinned bitterly to himself.
How soon Mathis had been proved right, and how
Y/'.'--;- '- : ' >i --" ••' ' THE BLEEDING HEART" . 179 -
soon his own little sophistries had been exploded in his
While he, Bond, had been playing Red Indians
through the years (yes, Le Chiffre's description was per-
fectly accurate), the real enemy had been working
quietly, coldly, without heroics, right there at his elbow.
He suddenly had a vision of Vesper walking down a
corridor with documents in her hand. On a tray. They
just got it on a tray while the cool secret agent with a
Double O number was gallivanting round the
world— playing Red Indians.
His fingernails dug into the palms of his hands, and
his body sweated with shame.
Well, it was not too late. Here was a target for him,
right to hand. He would take on SMERSH and hunt it
down* Without smersh, without this cold weapon of
death and revenge, the M.W.D. would be just another
bunch of civil servant spies, no better and no worse than
any of the western services. • . ■ ,
SMERSH was the spur. Be faithful, spy well, or you
die. Inevitably and without any question, you will be
hunted down and killed.
It was the same with the whole Russian machine. Fear
was the impulse. For them it was always safer to ad-'
Vance than to retreat. Advance against the enemy, and
the bullet might miss you. Retreat, evade, betray, and
the bullet would never miss.-
But now he would attack the arm that held the whip
and the gun. The business of espionage could be left to
the white-collar boys. They could spy and catch the
spies. He would go after the threat behind the spies, the
threat that made them spy.
The telephone rang, and Bond snatched up the
He was on to 'the Link,' the outside liaison officer
who was the only man in London he might telephone
from abroad. Then only in dire necessity.
He spoke quietly into the receiver.
'This is 007 speaking. This is- an open. line. It's an
emergency. Can you hear me? . . . Pass this on at once:
3030 was a double, working for Redland. . . .
'Yes, dammit, I said "was. " The bitch is dead now. '
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